New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, February 17 2002 Vol 02 : 041
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] To TC: confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: What constitutes a church...response to Sam
Re: [NTCP] RE: What constitutes a church...response to TC
Re: [NTCP] To TC: confronting the evidence
[NTCP] House churches in Indonesia

Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 00:13:07 EST
From: TheologusCrucis

Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Dan,

Howdy! Thank you for responding! This is something that is sharpening me here
as I pray and think about what God wants for me here in Amhest.

You responded:

>>I guess we need to see the Body. If we do, then that vision governs
everything we do in our serving the Lord. The Body is a corporate matter. The
thought of authority resting with an individual is simply versus the most
fundamental principle of the Body.>There is clearly authority in the Body - and
as the type of Aaron's budding rod shows, authority is evidenced by the
bringing forth of life. Authority is for feeding - it's a life matter. And even
there in Num. you have both Moses and Aaron. There is some balance and
coordination.>We have to be careful not to think that all the gifted members in
Eph. 4 are to be found in every local church. They may not be. The Head has
given these gifted one to the Body - not to a local church. That's why there
needs to be much blending in the Body, even among churches. That way the supply
in the Body can reach all the Body.>It's good you are going to visit that group
of saints. Whether they are a "church" or not - let's leave that to the Lord to
decide. Anyway, they are God's children.>I hope you are going simply as a
brother. Not just to give, but also to receive. Another basic principle of the
Body is mutuality.>If you go as "the pastor" you may be tempted to do all the
speaking. But if you go as one of the gifted ones (who's job according to Eph.
4 is to perfect the saints to do the building work) then you will also listen
to see where the saints are at. You may be there for 4 hours, but only speak
for 15 min.>That way you become a pattern for them - not of "the bishop", but
simply of a brother who functions in the Body and for the Body. You'll lead
them into a church life of mutual shepherding... vs. "let the pastor do
it".Dan,

Howdy! Thank you for responding! This is something that is sharpening me here
as I pray and think about what God wants for me here in Amhest.

You responded:

>>I guess we need to see the Body. If we do, then that vision governs
everything we do in our serving the Lord. The Body is a corporate matter. The
thought of authority resting with an individual is simply versus the most
fundamental principle of the Body.

I agree and disagree. The body is ruled by the head, and is not a democracy.
The head of the church, the body of Christ, is a king: Jesus Christ. The
Kingdom of God is a Monarchy. We can view the body as the subjects of the head,
because without Him, no part of the body works -- just ask Icabod Crane! :)

>>There is clearly authority in the Body - and as the type of Aaron's budding
rod shows, authority is evidenced by the bringing forth of life. Authority is
for feeding - it's a life matter. And even there in Num. you have both Moses
and Aaron. There is some balance and coordination.

Yes, there is a balance. But Aaron was never considered co-ruler of the
Children of Israel by God or the people: Moses was at the burning bush. And the
churches "rod" will away be Scripture -- only these gifts according to
Scripture will have the authority to equip and discipline the body, given by
the departing King as He ascended, no less!

"The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than all the
heavens, so his rule might fill the entire universe. He is the one who gave
these gifts to the church..." Eph. 4:10, 11 NLT

>>We have to be careful not to think that all the gifted members in Eph. 4 are
to be found in every local church. They may not be. The Head has given these
gifted one to the Body - not to a local church. That's why there needs to be
much blending in the Body, even among churches. That way the supply in the Body
can reach all the Body.

Why not? The church universal has these gifts as well in people -- why wouldn't
the local body reflect this?

>>It's good you are going to visit that group of saints. Whether they are a
"church" or not - let's leave that to the Lord to decide. Anyway, they are
God's children.

God has shown us what a "church" is in Scripture. I may, however, lack
information or discernment in the matter. And yes, they are God's children!
Some of the deepest and best that I've ever done was given to me by God for
these people -- He cares for them very, very much.

>>I hope you are going simply as a brother. Not just to give, but also to
receive. Another basic principle of the Body is mutuality.

I've always announced myself as the servant of the guy that began these
meetings in his house. And I was clear the first time I went that God hadn't
called me to his town, He had called me clearly and irrecoverably to Amhest. I
don't think there is any confusion at all -- everyone knows that I am neither
their elder nor their shepherd (pastor), but a teacher/preacher to encourage
them from God's Word.

>>If you go as "the pastor" you may be tempted to do all the speaking. But if
you go as one of the gifted ones (who's job according to Eph. 4 is to perfect
the saints to do the building work) then you will also listen to see where the
saints are at. You may be there for 4 hours, but only speak for 15 min.

Well spoken! My God, but these people can sit around for ever!! Yet that time
has been well spent. Actually, the reason the elder wanted me to speak was to
build a solid foundation for others to begin to have a voice as well. Last
month, three others shared, Amen! We were very excited, and I can see the
beginning of the end of my role there...

>>That way you become a pattern for them - not of "the bishop", but simply of
a brother who functions in the Body and for the Body. You'll lead them into a
church life of mutual shepherding... vs. "let the pastor do it".

Again, well spoken! I'd love to see them mutually encourage the other. Yet it
is even a greater wish that God would rise up, and the elder confirm, a person
that is the gift of that group as shepherd.

And may God bless you richly as well, Dan!

TC


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


Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 00:13:22 EST
From: TheologusCrucis

Subject: Re: [NTCP] To TC: confronting the evidence

WS,

Thanks for your post! I will respond, but after responding to Sam and Dan, I
find I'm out of time! Perhaps tomorrow?

God's blessings,

TC

WS,

Thanks for your post! I will respond, but after responding to Sam and Dan, I
find I'm out of time! Perhaps tomorrow?

God's blessings,

TC


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


Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 08:07:24 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE:
What constitutes a church...response to Sam

TheologusCrucis wrote:

>>>>- I've been invited to speak regularly at a house church as I've been
>doing for about 6 months now, and as far as I can tell from Ephesians, they
>don't constitute a church but instead a support group of shared experiences
>and emotions.

Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: What constitutes a church...response to TC

Sam,

Your response to TC has drawn me out of "lurkdom" today!

Last summer, an older brother called me and asked to come by and teach us as he
was passing through our area. We plainly told him that we could not schedule
additional meetings at this short notice, but would be glad to meet him, and
have as many over as could come.

It turned out that he had recently gotten turned on to the idea of home church,
and had some experience in it many years ago. He promoted head coverings and
silence for the women and the older style of Brethren meetings.

It was sort of strange how he expected everything to fall into place in his
travels (he came to Columbus by Greyhound bus), but I won't go there. In the
end he introduced us to his friends in a nearby city, as "hoping to become a
home church." I thought that it was interesting in that we had been together
seeking the Lord for 6 years, but he did not recognize us as a "real" church.
His only experience was in a failed house church 15 years ago, but for some
reason he was qualified to make this judgment.

Go figure!

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com


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


Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 22:10:20 EST
From: TheologusCrucis

Subject: Re: [NTCP] To TC: confronting the evidence

WS,

You had many great points to make and I enjoyed the input of your last post.

You wrote:

>>I would like to make a couple comments on what you wrote Dan. The passage
in Eph., I believe was written to all the saints in the church. Just maybe, all
the gifts mentioned here were for all the people as the Spirit chose. Each
person responding to the prompting of the Spirit. I think your "frustration
with house church"s" could be better placed at the feet of the organization
that produced saints that are constantly looking for LEADERS, bishops,
apostles, etc., etc. that will speak a word from God into their life when It
should be THE Holy Spirit they should be waiting upon.>The gifts are for ALLL
the believers as God chooses, not just for the "mature, or the ones who think
they posses a certain gift". Follow me as I follow Christ is not a call to
follow Paul, but a call to follow Christ. Desire earnestly the best gift is not
a call to climb further up a ladder to spiritual greatness by obtaining better
gifts, but a call to access greater gifts for the service to our brothers and
sisters in Christ as we follow HIM. I don't think leadership can produce good
house churches. It is hunger for God to move and openness to move in God that
will make a good house church. Paul birthed a part of God's church (in a
locality) sometimes in just a short time and had to move on. It was not Elders
that brought those young groups through. It was the Head of the church that
nurtured the early groups.>house churches are springing up rapidly. Some will
fall pray to those who want to organize, some to lack of hunger to follow
Christ's spirit, but some will find true koinonia ! That organic relationship
with God and the brethren.WS,

You had many great points to make and I enjoyed the input of your last post.

You wrote:

>>I would like to make a couple comments on what you wrote Dan. The passage in
>>Eph., I believe was written to all the saints in the church. Just maybe, all
>>the gifts mentioned here were for all the people as the Spirit chose. Each
>>person responding to the prompting of the Spirit. I think your "frustration
>>with house church"s" could be better placed at the feet of the organization
>>that produced saints that are constantly looking for LEADERS, bishops,
>>apostles, etc., etc. that will speak a word from God into their life when It
>>should be THE Holy Spirit they should be waiting upon.

Of course, I cannot say that these gifts are for particular people any more
than you can say they were for the congregation in general. However, I would
tend to lean heavily on the fact that these four people retained these gifts.
However, in the other gifts of the Spirit mentioned, especially in tongues and
prophecy, I would land solidly in your corner!

My point, I suppose, would be that I think the Holy Spirit has spoken thru the
bestowing of these people to the Body. Of course one should wait upon God and
not be hasty in appointing an elder or operating with authority as apostle,
evangelist, prophet, and shepherd/teacher. Yet there comes a time when the
waiting is over, the people who God has given are obvious, and the equipping
and maturing of the Body begin.

>>The gifts are for ALLL the believers as God chooses, not just for the
>>"mature, or the ones who think they posses a certain gift". Follow me as I
>>follow Christ is not a call to follow Paul, but a call to follow Christ.
>>Desire earnestly the best gift is not a call to climb further up a ladder to
>>spiritual greatness by obtaining better gifts, but a call to access greater
>>gifts for the service to our brothers and sisters in Christ as we follow HIM.
>>I don't think leadership can produce good house churches. It is hunger for
>>God to move and openness to move in God that will make a good house church.
>>Paul birthed a part of God's church (in a locality) sometimes in just a short
>>time and had to move on. It was not Elders that brought those young groups
>>through. It was the Head of the church that nurtured the early groups.

I dunno, Paul definitely advised that new converts shouldn't become leaders. I
would think that those who have these gifts would be humbled by the fact,
understanding "Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are
accountable to God" Heb. 13:17 NLT

I would think it easily understood that these gifts aren't earned or deserved,
that they are given by grace. Those who are these gifts aren't any more special
than anyone else. To be mature is just that -- to be mature. There aren't any
levels to it. One is or isn't. I've never subscribed to the "Higher Life
Teaching" of my own Pentecostal background, the only use that Jacob's ladder
had was when Jesus climbed down to us!

And as for Paul's moving on, he clearly promised to come back or appointed
elders -- one can't read Corinthians for very long without seeing that Paul
considered himself the elder of that congregation.

>>house churches are springing up rapidly. Some will fall pray to those who
>>want to organize, some to lack of hunger to follow Christ's spirit, but some
>>will find true koinonia ! That organic relationship with God and the brethren.

Yep, they are. Will it be a good thing, or a bad thing? Will there be fruit,
i.e., the equipping and maturing of the saints, or will it be a typical
American emotional individualist fest? Only time will tell, I guess. Do small
groups that don't know the Gospel or sound doctrine wound any less deeply than
the institutional church in the same situation, different structure?

WS


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


Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 21:17:29 +0700
From: Link
Subject: [NTCP] House churches
in Indonesia

I was invited to speak at a church (an "institutional church ") and I did so
today. I spoke in Indonesian, which was kind of hard. I got stuck a few times
and had to ask for vocabulary from my wife. I had someone else read verses for
me to make things flow smoothly.

I spoke on how we are to be our 'brother's keeper' and love in deed and in
truth. I focused on how we can minister outside of church gatherings, being
like a father, an older brother, etc. to others.

The church was small, maybe a couple dozen. The pastor is in his early 20's.
He's a classmate of my wife's at Bethel Bible college. Bethel has ties with
the Church of God (Cleveland) in the US.

After the meeting was over, Samuel, the young pastor there, shared his desire
to study abroad. He was thinking of something simple like a YWAM training. I
told him I had Bob Fitts email at home. I told him about simple Bible college,
and mentioned that Bob Fitts was involved in house churches.

Samuel wanted to know more about house churches. He had heard about it, but
didn't know how to do it. On the way there, I was thinking about taking Samuel
out to lunch and telling him about house churches. It seemed like the Lord
might have been leading me in that direction.

So, right next door to the church in the 'ruko' complex--which is a complex of
three story storefronts' there was a sort of open air roofed in bakso place.
Bakso is a kind of Chinese meatball. So we ordered meatballs and noodles. The
worship leader, was listening in and he wanted to join us to talk about house
churches as well. Dion is his name. He is a Bible college student, too. He
is an announcer on a local Christian radio station.

For maybe 45 minutes, I shared with Samuel and Dion about different topics- how
Paul and Barnabas planted churches, what elders were like (including age, e.g.
I Timothy 5), discussed the issue of tithing. (I asked him what would happen
if someone came to church and ate and drank up their tithes and put their
tomatoes in the offering plate, referring to passages in the OT to make my
point.) I think Samuel already was suspicious of tithing teaching he'd heard
in church.

My wife was also wanting to share with Samuel that she felt the service they
had was too formal, especially for the 20 or so people that were there. Samuel
had started a Bible study in a home that grew larger. When he started this
church- a branch of another church franchise (within a larger denomination), he
just rented the building (probably with funds from the mother church) and
people who were already believers came. But it didn't seem to effective for
evangelism.

I shared with him what a friend of mine, who plants house churches among a
M'slim people group here told me that he heard from a local missions director
from the AOG. Early on in a church plant, the worker will have meetings at
home. A lot of good "E.V. work" (code for evangelism) goes on. Then, the
group gets to a certain size where they have maybe 20 people. They put
together a proposal to raise money for renting a building. Then the focus
changes, and the evangelism dies down. A lot of these church planters start
with something similar to a house church in the early days.

Samuel seemed to be able to see that when he was ministering in a house, he
spent time winning souls. But now, as a more formal clergyman, he was busy
with programs.

We talked about how that house church is not good for someone who wants to
build his own kingdom. Around here, some preachers try to get a church set up,
and then try to earn their living from that church.

Samuel and Dion both want to come over to my house some time before I move back
to the US next month, Lord willing. I plan to hook them up with some existing
house churches here.

********************* Several months ago, I found out about some people doing
house church in Indonesia. For months, I've been wanting to go, but they had
their meetings on Friday night, a night of a prayer meeting my wife goes to,
and with sickness and a month of guests, finally my wife and I got around to
going last Friday night.

The meeting was held in the home of Hana Wijaya, who was quite a famous actress
in her day. She stays there sometimes, but lets her daughter and son-in-law
live there. Here son-in-law, Billy, is from the family that owns Immanuel
bookstores, probably the largest Christian bookstore chain in the country. My
wife knew Billy and his wife, Aprilla, from her former denomination, and we
went to their wedding.

Billy and Aprilla both speak English well. They come from well-to-do families
and studied in the US. Aprilla sounds just about like an American. Billy is
probably in his late 20's. Maybe he's 30.

They host a house church meeting on Friday night. There are about 22 people
that come. Billy's older brother, Jessy, is involved with house churches too.
He works with a 'yayasan'- a foundation, which helps out house churches. These
churches get their baptism certificates and other legal paperwork through a
house church friendly cell church in Jakarta which hosts Wolfgang Simson when
he comes (author of _Houses that Change the World._)

In the meeting, people fellowshipped for a long time and ate noodles that Billy
prepared. Meetings get started late, after 8 sometimes. He said they
sometimes go till 12. That's late for Jakarta. He said the latest people have
stayed is until 4 am.

We knew some other people there. My wife and I go to Jakarta International
Christian Fellowship. This is a big international church which has 'lay
elders' instead of a pastor, and the people in the congregation doing the
various ministries, and they have a lot of home meetings. We saw an Irian
Jayan (Papuan) brother that we knew from that church. The guest speaker has
recently been going to JICF, too.

The guest speaker just gave a testimony. He said he wasn't too good at
teaching out of a Bible passage. He told about how he worked hard in America,
made a lot of money, lost sight of God, and then lost it all and went through a
lot of difficulty. his testimony seemed to be high on dollar figures. He
spent a lot of time describing his wealth. But he was trying to give a
testimony, and people received it well. I shared that passage about godliness
with contentment being great gain. (The church background some of these people
came out of seems to be mildly WOF/prosperity influenced, and I made sure to
include that verse about wanting to be rich being a snare and a trap.)

The house church there had a few people considered to be elders. Billy, who is
rather young, is one of them. A woman maybe in her 30's is another. That's
kind of strange to me, young elders and women elders. I'm not sure but this
movement might have some people considered to be apostles in a kind of
administrative leadership role. I'm not sure. I suspect their are influenced
by Wolfgang Simson, and his idea of an apostle is a fatherly servant type,
moreso than an itinerant church planter from what I gather.

Billy said their company will publish a book called 'Gereja Rumah' which
translates as 'house church'--the first house church book to be published in
Indonesia that he knows about. Another ministry was considering the same title
for Simson's _The Church in the House_ which is coming out soon thereafter. I
suggested some other authors for Billy, but the Christian book store company
here is focusing on Tommy Tenny's stuff.

I wonder why all this stuff is happening just as I'm getting ready to leave?
I'd like to be here to see what comes of it, but I can still pray for these
things from afar.

 


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #41 < Previous Digest Next Digest >

house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions