New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, February 19 2002 Vol 02 : 044
[NTCP] RE:Prohetic word
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation
[NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation
Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 17:12:11
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: [NTCP]
RE:Prohetic word

Dear list,

I received a prophetic some time ago from another list i belong to which I feel
is relevant to our experience and so would like to share it. Part of it is
posted below.

David Jaggernauth

2002, The Season Ahead By Robert I Holmes Fri, 28 Dec 2001

From November 29 to December 9 the Lord began to speak to me about the season
ahead. The first thing he laid out was a number of signs that will mark the
season ahead of us. Having done that he gave a more general word about what to
expect. Humility is the critical character trait God is looking for in the
nations this season. In the times ahead he will judge the nations, and those
who humble themselves will receive grace. Those who shake their fist and rage
in pride shall be brought down (Psalm 2:1-2).

Purging is coming

I had a waking dream in which I saw a country seemingly blessed by God with
beautiful rivers, large cities, flowing rivers, agriculture and commerce. I
narrowed down on one region, a series of village cities located in the delta of
a river. Nearby was a very impressive city-state. But here in the region I saw,
covered with sheep and cattle, a wide and largely flat land were slaves.
Hundreds of thousands of slaves lived together in that land.

As I watched, a series of disasters came upon the country and upon the
city-state nearby. Wave after wave of problems: economic down turn, crop
failure, water pollution, insect plagues, sickness and worse. After these waves
had come and gone the land was devastated. Like so many times in history, some
of the people living in the country decided to leave. There was a mass exodus
of refugees fleeing the ravaged country.

It seemed like millions of people left their homes and left the land. If the
region contained 10 million people, then perhaps 2.5 million of them left. They
took all their earthly possessions with them on foot, horse back, in wheel
barrows or carts. Families had been torn in two as some left and some stayed.
Suburbs lost half their inhabitants, whose fate was inextricably linked to the
rest of the nation in which they stayed.

After what seemed like a very long time the refugees came to a river, where
they camped and rested. This river marked the border between their country and
its neighbour. They covered the land, there were far more people than I had
seen in the refugee camps of Afghanistan or Africa. Here an entire generation
of refugees died from starvation, disease and famine.

Many of their children survived, and they prepared to enter the neighbouring
country. Across that river stood guard posts, huge walled fortresses with
people who felt threatened by the refugees flooding toward them. I woke up with
a distinct word resonating in my spirit: "purging". The people I saw had been
purged twice. Once in leaving their homes and leaving some behind, and once at
the border. They had lost perhaps 90% of their number. From 10 million once
living in the delta region, less than 1 million crossed the river border. I
believe this prophetic picture was both a rendering of the Old Testament Exodus
and of the season ahead for the church.

A picture of the past

Transcripts of Egyptian parchments, archaeological studies and Bible
Dictionaries paint a deep background to the biblical account of the Exodus.

Goshen was a region in the Nile River Delta in Egypt (Gen. 47:6 & 27). It was
near the city-state of Pi-Ramesse, the home of the ruling god-king Rameses II.
The region sustained about 10 million people, collectively referred to as the
'Apiru' or foreign slaves for the empire. Exodus tells us that 600,000 men left
Egypt after the plagues, not counting women and children (Exod. 12:37),
bringing the number to about 2.5 million who left. If you have ever left a
stadium with 100,000 people you know that these people could not all have left
at once. They probably left in stages over a period of weeks or perhaps months.

Not all those who left were Hebrew slaves. They came from the diversity of the
inhabitants of Goshen, a "mixed multitude" (Exod. 12:38). The Apiru were a
mixed race (erebrab meaning riff-raff, mixture or diverse group). They left
behind about 7.5 million people who preferred the leeks, onions, cucumbers,
potatoes and gods of the Nile (Num. 11:5). Perhaps this explains why they so
easily turned to a golden calf after Moses ascended the mountain?

The people followed Moses across the Sinai wilderness and eventually came to
the Jordan river, marking the border crossing into the promised land. It was
here that an entire generation perished in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:5). "In
this desert your bodies will fall. Everyone of you twenty one years old or
more... who has grumbled against me will not enter the land" (Num. 14:29). The
Lord purged Egypt with ten plagues (Exod. 9:14) and Israel purged herself with
ten tests (Num. 14:12).

A picture of the future

I believe this dream was significant to our future. In the days ahead we shall
continue to see an Exodus of people from what we know as organized religion.
They shall be from the 'Apiru', a diverse group of people from many nations,
churches and cultures. As with the Biblical Exodus, they have and will leave in
stages - over a period of time.

C. Peter Wagner and his research institute found that in the year 2000 the
fastest growing group among Christians were not the revival soaked churches of
South America, nor the Charismatic movement, it was the loosely defined
'unchurched' church. This trend shall continue for some time, and with it a
purging of existing congregations shall be experienced.

For those who choose to 'leave' there will come ten tests, or a series of
purgings in the wilderness. As with the people of the Exodus, not all those who
leave will make it to their 'promised land'. In the days to come humility and
grace will be foundational to the survival of those who find themselves in the
wilderness. "He who has grumbled against me will not enter the land" still
rings true for us today.

A final word

As I have pointed out before, we shall share a common experience with the
people who stood at the banks of the river Jordan. We shall face one final test
in the days ahead. It will be a test of who is boss, of who will lead, of who
will follow.

"Follow [the ark], so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not
passed this way before. Leave a space between you and it, a distance of about
two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it" (Josh. 3:4).

God is asking for room - leave him room to be God in our midst. Give him
liberty, license and space to lead us. Israel was told to back off, why?
Because they had never been this way before. The distance was set so that they
might know which way to go. Only God can lead the way forward. We can't get to
our future employing the ways of our past. These we must bury and leave on the
other side of the river.


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Date: 18 Feb 2002 12:20:40 -0500
From: Mike Sangrey
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE:
Confronting the evidence

On Mon, 2002-02-18 at 11:41, Steffasong wrote:
>In a message dated 02/18/2002 11:18:10 AM Eastern Standard Time,
>abccom(--AT--)hotmail.com writes: David J. wrote:
>
>>Would it be much easier if we had a bishop??
>>
>
>It would be MUCH easier.
>
>We have to decide though, do we want 'easier' or a more full expression of the
>body of Christ?
>

If I may come from a different perspective, but say EXACTLY the same thing.

We DO want easier! BUT!, whenever we use that term `easier' we have to ask,
"what are we measuring such that we can say this is easier and that is harder?"

What I'm saying is that obedience to Jesus always more easily accomplishes what
He wants than disobedience. (I'm NOT being law-centric here.) It may be more
uncomfortable. It may take more money. It may all sorts of things. But it
always moves in the direction of Jesus vision. All other ways will ultimately
require MORE effort since it will take effort to get back on the straight and
narrow.

BTW, with the advent of more evidence and the ability (thanks to things like
computers) to study the evidence, modern linguistic research indicates
EPISKOPOS is fairly close to our word for `guardian'. So the emphasis in the
word is "to care for" and "to keep a wary eye on the outside environment."

In that sense it is quite similar to POIMAINO (shepherd). A shepherd doesn't
spoon feed a normal, healthy sheep (not even a little one!). He will lead them
to good grazing. And he will sit on the ridge and keep an eye on the
environment for any potential danger. Interestingly, when danger appears, he
doesn't rush down to the sheep and teach them what to do, he rushes at the
danger and by putting himself in harms way, protects the sheep. In this sense
I think POIMAINO and EPISKOPOS sit together and hold hands. - -- Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa. "The first one last wins." "A net of highly cohesive details
reveals the truth." ~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions.org/planting
~ ~ ~

Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 14:27:47 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation

Blessings everyone!

I would like to solicit the list at to a current dilemma.

Our house church network met for two years BEFORE any elders were appointed (we
did not vote, but rather prayed and sought the Lord, and we all confirmed in
our own hearts whom the Lord set apart as elders). Our fundamental belief is
that the elders oversee situations that you and I would call crises and and
those that are disciplinary in nature, gathering a consensus in how to best
handle the situation. Now is our first first real test.

A brother in the Lord that I have known for some 5 years now, who was also at
the Vineyard where I pastored and had to confront him on two other occasions,
has not created a situation where no one in the 2 house church's that he was a
part of trust him or want anything to do with him due in large part to his
controlling, domineering, and manipulating tactics in gatherings. He has even
made such comments as "I should be the leaders of this house church, not you
two" and "I need to be in front of a large audience..." and "I'm leaving now, I
have laid a foundation and can move on."

He has openly attacked our vision and has been vigorous in his attacks totally
lacking in understanding and love. He has undermined, and controlled and
manipulated people, and does so in even more dastardly ways, such as the
production of tears and weeping and groaning, with no fruit of repentance.
Week by week it is getting worse, and week by week he continues to exert
unhealthy influences on people, in particular women. His own family life is in
shambles. He has admitted to the emotional abuse of his wife (she left him
because of it) and the emotional abuse of his 13 year old handicapped son.

I gathered with some of the elders (there were four at yesterday's gathering)
and met for coffee and tea and we simply rehashed the gathering and what went
on, and then we prayed for guidance, and all of us believe we ought to confront
him and ask him, that since he is making such a big deal about the
institutional church , and since he constantly is expressing a vision that is
completely at odds with those within our house church network, that it would be
best that he go find a fellowship that is more suited to his vision and gifts.
What do the rest of you think?

Blessings, Sam


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Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 20:24:03 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting
the evidence


Content-Disposition: inline


>David Jaggernauth wrote:
>
>>Would it be much easier if we had a bishop??


I'll trade anyone a slightly used bishop that's hanging around here for an
evangelist. Any takers?

:)

Keith


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Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 16:06:13 -0800
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE:
Dealing with biblical confrontation

Samuel Buick wrote:

>I gathered with some of the elders (there were four at yesterday's gathering)
>and met for coffee and tea and we simply rehashed the gathering and what went
>on, and then we prayed for guidance, and all of us believe we ought to
>confront him and ask him, that since he is making such a big deal about the
>institutional church , and since he constantly is expressing a vision that is
>completely at odds with those within our house church network, that it would
>be best that he go find a fellowship that is more suited to his vision and
>gifts. What do the rest of you think?

Dear Sam,

It's difficult to know where to begin. I have seen those with this superstar's
problems ruin small groups lots of times. Like Diotrephes, "they love to be
first". They want to be center stage, and the stage is down at the local
institutional church , which won't give him a place because it is already
occupied with another superstar..

"These are the kind that spoil whole households." They attack the Body at the
household level because the government is or is perceived to be, very weak
there. They can be as difficult to deal with as Diotrephes, and there are very
few acknowledged Johns around.

Translocal authority structures are not able to deal with local problems, so if
your selected eldership is from a wider area than the town where Diotrephes is
doing his overlording, It is not likely to be effective.

So this is what I would do, and have done with some success in the past. Find
one or two of those who are genuine elders in your town. They may be involved
in an institutional church or they may be outside the gate, but they must be
genuine, as distinct from "paper dolls or ninty day wonders". Ask them if they
are willing to help you out with advice on the matter you have described. You
might be amazed at the wisdom that comes forth from a genuine elder, once he is
honored as such. The best part is that he or she is there, and may well be
willing to help you out with implementing the advice given.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 08:28:31 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] RE:
Confronting the evidence

Jim Rutz wrote:

>2. Acts 2:42: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles teachings,
>fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer." He said you can also read it as
>"the prayers." Either way.
>
>Even the super-literal "Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament"
>leaves a big blank under the Greek "tais" (THE), implying it has no force at
>all in English. All in all, this one sounds like a toss-up to me.

Jim, I am one class and two tests away from an M.A. degree in Hebrew Bible
translation. No expert I know. But I'm up on current developments. One thing
that is happening in my field is the acknowledgment among many that there has
been a distinct anti-Jewish bias in many (most) Christian translations of ...
well mostly the NT. (I have a short study of two specific instances in the NIV
where this anti-Jewish bias is quantifiable. It has application to other
translations as well. I'd be glad to send it to anyone who asks.) All that
build-up to say what you have already acknowledged elsewhere: it is easy to
wear theologically selective lenses when dealing with the biblical texts. For
the reader. For the translator. Therefore your friend's and Berry's quickness
to "rob" the article of its force in "THE prayers" (Act 2:42) does not surprise
me. Do they "de-definitize" "teaching of THE Apostles" and "breaking of THE
bread" too? I didn't think so. Wonder why?

Paul's gentile friend Luke, of all people, displays the most Greek semitic
style-- when dealing with Jesus' life/death/resurrection and the fledgling
church in its home environs. In other words, his Greek parrots Hebrew
conventions ... until the missionaries go out into the gentile world. Then
suddenly Luke's Greek becomes very ... well, almost *classical* Greek.
Fascinating! Some scholars attribute this change in style to the sources Luke
used (Luk. 1:1-3): Hebrew/Aramaic in Judea/Galilee, Greek in Hellenized world.
Others attribute it to conscious intention on Luke's part-- or a combination
of both the above. I tend to side with the second camp.

Anyway, Act. 2:42 falls within the "Jewish style" part of his account of the
early Church. The Greek mimics Hebrew. And we have already seen that the
definite article is *very* important to Hebrew narrative (Feb 18 post
"Confronting the Evidence"-- to Mike S).

My argument (I'm not alone on this, by the way) that "THE prayers" (TAIS
PROSEUKHAIS) means just that, does not only depend on murky stylistic issues,
but is also founded on the solid ground of biblical context. If one sees a
definite article (THE), the first thing a person should do is look for what the
definitive means in relation to the verses before and/or after it. If there is
no place to go with that line of reasoning, then of course it is natural to
look for another answer. But if there *is* a place to go, yet someone seeks
another answer anyway, it becomes evident that bias is at play. Not the best
platform for discovering truth.

In our case, "THE prayers"-- evoking the question, "which prayers?"-- is
answered in the verses immediately following: *the* temple prayers (Act. 3:1).
Why would we resist this natural flow of the narrative ... unless we didn't
want our Apostles et. al. partaking of such Jewish ritual observance. If that
bothers us then of course we'll search for a way to explain why our heroes were
just doing what we do-- pray. They couldn't have prayed *those* prayers!
Could they? Against us though would be the semitic style of Luke's Greek, the
grammar of the passage, the immediate and distant textual context, and the
cultural context-- these would all mitigate against us (see also Keenr, Craig
S. THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY-New Testament Downers Grove, Illinois:
InterVarsity Press, 1993, pp. 330-31). The early church was devoted, and one
mark of their piety was their consistant participation in the scheduled prayers
(and forms, I might add) of the liturgical Temple.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 08:32:47 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Re:
Confronting the evidence

Link Hudson wrote:

>I hear the way the Greek Orthodox church selects a priest is they let the
>congregation pick a man among them who best represents Christ in the
>congregation, and then have him ordained as a priest. It owuld be interesting
>to know how old this custom is. Greek Orthodox priests (and not bishops) can
>be married, btw.

I have a Christian friend named Steve. We went to Bible college (non-denom.
Evangelical) together. Along the way, he became convinced that the Greek
Orthodox Church was the route for him. He attended the local GOC in the area--
a house church. After a few years, and after I had moved out of the area, I
heard that he aspired to be a priest ... with the congregation's and the
Metropolitan's (bishop over a city) approval. First he had to serve the church
as a deacon for a number of years-- I think like three or so. Then he had to
be tested in doctrine, character, spirit. Then, if he passed scrutiny, he would
be ordained. I have lost contact with Steve since I moved to Israel. I
presume he was ordained in the GOC. I just wonder what he looks like with a
beard and pony-tail. The things one thinks about.

TC wrote:

Families in the first century, whether Jewish or not, were Patriarchal, and the
father "ruled" the kinship group much like a king sovereignly ruled a
country.... Again, the family in Scriptures was a Patriarchy. And the father
was absolute in this, this was a hierarchy of kinship from the father to the
oldest son, etc.,...

I hate to break in TC because I am in agreement with so much of what you have
written here (and usually write), but I just don't want people to get the
impression that 1st century Jewish families were similar to 1st century Roman
families, where the father could have something going on with a servant girl
(or boy) and the wife had no legal recourse. But he himself could kill her for
the same offence! Or that a Jewish daughter would be in the same boat with her
Roman counterpart and have no choice in who she was to marry. "Father knows
best"! :\ Though Jewish society has always been patriarchal, it has also had
the benefit of a divine Law which at its core was designed to protect the
rights of those most trodden on in surrounding cultures. And their own.
Though the Jewish father was called the head of the home, the wife was also
called its soul. She had (has) a say-so in so much of what goes on in the
husband's life-- in fact, orthodox Jewish women consider, say, Mennonite wives
to be repressed, since Jewish women have always been free to speak up, study,
work, etc. But within the limits of their well-defined roles. And that is, I
think, key to this discussion. Roles. Respected from within and without. They
provide freedom!

PRAYER REQUEST: Sam Buick's request about his move and his van gave me freedom
to speak up. I need your help. Big time! On Friday (Feb 15), my
nine-year-old daughter and her friend were playing together just outside the
walled complex of Jerusalem University College on modern day Mt. Zion, on the
outside the southwest corner of the walled Old City. Suddenly an Arab man came
out of the bushes, grabbed my daughter by the face, grabbed the other little
girl by the hair and slammed them both against a stone wall. He told them, "I'm
going to kill you". Dawn, my daughter started screaming for her mother in the
library on the other side of the wall, but Deborah did not hear her cries. The
man then grabbed Dawn's jaw and slapped her face. She screamed again, he
slapped, she screamed, he slapped. The other girl, Lota, was praying. Then he
told them to wait there at the wall, but Dawn started to run. He stopped her,
then smacked her in the leg. She stayed. He then told them he would be back
and left. They waited until they could hear him no more, then took off for the
gate of the college. They were safe. Thank God! But now I am so angry, and
Dawn is so scared. Both of us need your prayers to recover. We both need
grace to forgive this man. So would you join us in petitioning our Father to
help us over this hurdle. Please.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 04:17:30 -0500
From: forwarded
Subject: [NTCP] RE:
Dealing with biblical confrontation


From: Link Hudson

>completely at odds with those within our house church network, that it would
>be best that he go find a fellowship that is more suited to his vision and
>gifts. What do the rest of you think?

I'd like to share my opinion on this Sam.

What you are dealing with could actually be a life or death matter. Paul wrote
that in Corinth, there were divisions in the body. Some would probably show up
early, bring the food, including the bread and wine, and gobble it up. The poor
would come in later, probably having to work longer hours. Slaves probably
didn't have freedom to come until everything was done at home. They probably
met at night to eat the supper. But the poor got there and the rich had gobbled
up all the food. Maybe some of the people who got there early were drunk. The
poor didn't have food to drink. This was so awful that Paul said it wasn't'
even the Lord's supper.

Paul warned that if they ate in an unworthy manner, they would bring judgment
on themselves because they weren't regarding the Lord's body. A lot of people
don't really that they WAY they were eating was wrong. A lot of people think
the passage is talking about eating the passage while not having repented of a
sin. But I think the problem was more in the divisive way they were eating the
supper.

In what way were they not regarding the Lord's body? Traditionally, many think
that 'the Lord's body' is the bread. But a few verses later, we see that Paul
says that WE are the body of Christ. I think they were not regarding the Lord's
body by not regarding their brothers and sisters in Christ while they broke
that bread. If their supper was not 'the Lord's Supper,' was the bread even
Christ's body in their meals?

What they were doing was so bad, that God was judging them, and some people
were actually dying! If we look in the OT, when Achan sinned, other people
died. Achan sinned and other members of the army would get killed in battle. Is
it possible that one Corinthian got drunk in the Lord's supper, and another
Corinthians baby died because of the collective judgment on them all? We
Western individualists think of judgment as an individual thing. But in the OT,
we see a kind of collective judgment. One person could die because of the sin
of others in the camp.

What you do in the case of this brother may be a matter of life and death. In I
Corinthians 12, we read 'that there should be no schism in the body'--creating
a schism in the body of Christ is a big problem.

But now, we look out and see a lot of divisions and denominations. Biblically,
we know, there should not be such divisions. If you tell this man, 'go to
church somewhere else' isn't that being divisive?

There are times, though, to divide people off from fellowship. In the very book
which warns against division, I Corinthians, we see in chapter 5 that there was
a man living in sin with his father's wife. The Corinthians didn't corrupt him,
but were sort of proud about it. Paul chided them for this. He told them to
deliver the man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit
might be saved in the day of the Lord. The problem was that the man's sin could
spread like leaven. The Christians were not to eat with with a man who called
himself a brother and was a fornicator, a swindler, etc.

I don't believe we are to eat at all with such a person, but chapter 5 is so
full of Passover imagery, I think that Paul also had the Lord's Supper in mind
when he said not to eat with such a man. After all, that was the meal the
believers often ate together.

Later we read that if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged by the
Lord.

So here we have a tightrope to walk. If we don't eat the Lord's Supper with
people we are supposed to eat it with, and wrongly don't honor a part of the
Lord's body in doing so, we can come under judgment. But if we share the meal
with someone who is consumed by the leaven of sin, the sin can infect others,
and we can come under judgment. We are supposed to judge those in sin among us.

Now I'd like to share my opinion about the situation with this man:

Saying, "Just go to another church. You can partake of the Lord's Supper and be
in a church, just not with us" may sound like an easy out, but IMO, this isn't
Biblical.

This man is your churches' problem. Dumping him off on some other church won't
help him. If you tell him, 'fellowship at another church, but not here,' you
are condoning the denominational division in the body. If there is one body,
and the man isn't fit to fellowship with your gatherings, he shouldn't
fellowshipping with others in the same city church. If a fellow believer is
difficult for you, but Christ receives him, you are required to receive him. If
he is in sin and deserves to be cut off from fellowship, then he deserves that
from the whole city church. Forbidding him fellowship only in your church and
telling him to go elsewhere is, imo, in a sense separating yourselves from
God's church in the city.

Separating someone from fellowship is a big issue. It can bring God's judgment
if done wrongly. If left undone, sin can spread. So we need to be careful to
follow the instructions of Christ an His apostles and not be too 'creative'
about how to deal with the problem. We also need guidance from the Spirit of
God.

Here is what I see in the Bible about dealing with people like this:

Matthew 18. If your brother sins against you, confront him. If he won't hear,
take one or two others to serve as witnesses. If he won't hear them, the two or
three of you can serve as witnesses to accuse him before the church. If he
won't repent, let him be to you as a heathen man and a publican.

A lot of the religious Jews of those days ostracized heathens and publicans and
didn't eat with them. I Cor. 5 says of certain sinners called brothers 'with
such a man, no not to eat.'

According to I Timothy 5, Timothy was not to receive an accusation against an
elder except it were brought by two or three witnesses. Actually, wasn't that
the requirement for an accusation against anyone? Perhaps Timothy was serving
as a judge, as Paul did in I Cor. 5. Paul seemed to think the Corinthians
should have their own judges. Chapter 6.
>From what you said, it sounds like this guy is in a leadership role,
saying he laid a foundation. You also said he would weep and yet there was no
fruit of resentence.

This throws a monkey wrench into the scenario. After Jesus told the disciples
about having 'church court' toward an unrepentant brother, Peter asked him how
many times he should forgive someone. I think Peter may have been thinking
about Jesus' recent instructions that if a man sinned against them, and
repented, to forgive him. Jesus said to forgive such a man not 7 times, but 70
times 7.

So let's think about this. There is this guy who slaps Simon Peter in the face.
He says, "I repent." Peter forgives him. 70 times 7 times more, the man slaps
Peter in the face, once a day for 70 times 7 days. Each time, the man says, "I
repent." Peter is supposed to forgive the man each time, and not bring
witnesses, and not then take the man to 'church court?'

If your friend there keeps saying, "I repent" doesn't this passage reply?

I believe we should be very patient with someone who is struggling with sin and
keeps falling and asking forgiveness, but our attitude toward the person who
digs his heals in and refuses to repent is the type we should kick out.

There were also specific sins that Paul mentioned in I Corinthians 5. These
were things that are fairly easy to identify. If someone is living in
fornication, and says, "I repent' and keeps on living with his step mother,
then you can see he hasn't changed. It's not like someone repenting of anger
and falling again. If someone is a swindler, and doesn't give back the money he
cheated people out of, then you can see he hasn't repented.

But what about someone being 'controlling.' There is no teaching of scripture
that says, "Thou shalt not be controlling." Even if someone is controlling in
an unloving manner, it's not something that is concrete and easy to prove as
sin when you confront him. These issues are more tricky.

If this man is in a leadership type role, then he could perhaps be put out of
that role by the fellowship. I don't know of any Biblical precedent for this,
but it is something to pray about.

I think there are levels of discipline. I think the highest level is delivering
over to Satan, which allows for the soul's possible salvation in the day of the
Lord Jesus. But Paul also wrote in one of his epistles that if any man did not
keep the teaching of the epistle that the believers should not fellowship with
him or eat with him, so that he would be ashamed. I think this is a lesser
step. Perhaps the man who repented in II Corinthians 2 was disfellowshipped in
a similar situation. When he mourned and repented, he was to be restored to
fellowship.

I don't believe it is right to just kick someone out of your church for 'having
a different vision' and being troublesome, without giving them a chance to
repent. And if he does something that is bad enough to get kicked out of your
church, he has done something bad enough for others in the city-church not to
fellowship with him. If he is not worthy to be cut off from fellowship, then
you should receive the ministry of his spiritual gifts. But that doesn't mean
he should be in leadership.

Some discipline those who sin by telling them they can't minister. I don't
agree with that. If someone is fit to be fellowshipped with, then he should be
free to use his gifts. Being taken out of a position of _leadership_ or great
influence is another matter. One could use his gift to encourage others in a
meeting, without being put in a role to lead the teaching, for example.

If this man is self-serving and unruly wants to make a name for himself, and
you have good grounds to put some discipline on him till he repents, if he is
like a lot of other people, he may just go find another church more to his
tastes. If he does this, at least he didn't leave because you wrongly kicked
him out. I don't think we believers have the right to only fellowship closely
with those who have the same vision. We are to avoid certain troublemakers and
people who bring sin into the group. But we have to have a real solid reason to
disfellowship someone. If not, we might be bringing God's judgment on
ourselves.

I don't understand this whole subject, but these are my thoughts on the matter.
I definitely don't know exactly what your church should do, but I don't think
cutting someone off from fellowship from your meetings alone, based on vision,
is Biblical.

As far as 'the work' is concerned, there may be some more freedom to choose who
to work with in the work. Paul didn't want to work with Mark because he had
left the work behind. I don't think, at that point, Mark was at a point where
he would have been under church discipline. If he sinned, he may have repented.
I think it would have been wrong to kick Mark out of church if he had repented
of any sins. But I don't judge Paul for not going on a missionary journey with
him. Maybe Barnabas was about to do that that and Paul wasn't. Later, Paul
called Mark profitable.

Link


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


Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 08:33:11 EST
From: TheologusCrucis

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

MICHAEL,

I can't even imagine the emotions that you are going through because of the
danger and violence your little one has been exposed to! Of course I will pray,
and will keep your whole family in prayer on a regular basis. May God give you
grace and mercy for this man -- vengeance is God's, and He is often more
thorough and final in that vengeance than if we ourselves took up the vendetta.

As for your post, I of course completely agree, although I believe that during
Jesus' day an ongoing debate was whether the Jewish husband could give his wife
a certificate of divorce over anything he wanted to or not? Although different
in many ways, could you say that the Hebrews also sometimes paralleled the
Roman family as well, both being a form of Patriarchy? Americans house
churchers so want the church to be without any type of structure because they
equate no structure to freedom, and it is humorous that they appeal to the NT
were there was nothing that happened or existed without ritual or structure --
including the family and the church

God's blessing and protection to you and your family, my brother.

TC


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Date: 19 Feb 2002 11:56:27 -0500
From: Mike Sangrey
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE:
Confronting the evidence

Michael, first a comment about your Hebrew Bible translation degree and then
some comments about Acts 2:42.

On Tue, 2002-02-19 at 01:28, Deborah wrote:
>Jim Rutz wrote:
>
>>2. Acts 2:42: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles teachings,
>>fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer." He said you can also read it as
>>"the prayers." Either way.
>>
>>Even the super-literal "Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament"
>>leaves a big blank under the Greek "tais" (THE), implying it has no force at
>>all in English. All in all, this one sounds like a toss-up to me.
>
>Jim, I am one class and two tests away from an M.A. degree in Hebrew Bible
>translation. No expert I know. But I'm up on current developments.

Interesting! Do you know Dr. Randy Buth. If not, you might want to contact
him. He has developed both a Greek and Hebrew language immersion style
curriculum. The Hebrew one has students conversing in Biblical Hebrew in less
than 2 months. The curriculum is consistent with the language models taught by
Wycliffe Bible Translators (that's why it works so well since they have
experience in over 2500 languages!) I'd love to take it. Anyway, here's
contact information: Randall Buth, PhD Director, Biblical Hebrew Ulpan
www.BiblicalUlpan.org Buth(--AT--)jerusalemschool.org and Lecturer, Rothberg
International School Hebrew University

Also, David Bivin's (and other's) stuff at www.jerusalemperspective.com. It
wouldn't be hard for you to visit either of these places in person. Both
emphasize (I think properly) the Jewish nature of the NT.

Now, a couple of comments about Acts 2:42.

First, I quite agree with the Jewish or Semitic influence, both in language and
culture in the NT. I had not noticed the change from Hebrew linguistic
conventions to Greek ones in Acts. That's very interesting and leads me to my
second thought.

Second, if we step back from Acts and look at the whole book as a unit we see a
significant transition. When an oral culture (as opposed to a literate one
where communication is based more on what is written) tells their
stories--their history--the story teller will start out by introducing the
participants in the story and PLACING them somewhere, both in time and space.
Note Luke places people at Jerusalem. Now, flip over to the end of Acts. It's
now Paul--the apostle to the Gentiles--and he is in Rome. The center, the
geographic focus, of the story about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:4) moves from
Jerusalem, which up to this point in history had been the center focus of God's
dealing with the planet, to Rome, the center focus of the then known world
(Acts 28:31). We can think of this as moving from one hub to another.

There's a LOT more to develop this (the interaction between Paul and the Jewish
leadership in Rome at the end of Luke's story is quite striking when viewed in
the light of the transition I just mentioned), but I don't want to do that
here. My point is that if Luke is telling a story that transitions from
Jew-centric to the-whole-world centric, we would expect to see Jewish oriented
things in the beginning and we should see that focus fade away as we approach
the end of the book.

In other words, this should help us, today, get a clue to what was really
important and what is cultural artifact. May I interject here that cultural
artifacts are needed because it places the story IN HISTORY. We ain't dealing
with myth, this is real. This is not to suggest a rejection of something
simply because it has earmarks of culture. My point is to look for what is
REALLY important.

Now, all that to say that on the one hand we shouldn't say, "Liturgy is just
wrong." I think you are right--the "the prayers" DOES refer to prayers which
occurred at the temple. I don't think these prayers were ritualistic They
were deeply personal. And I think the main point was that there were set times
for people to get together at a common place and join in group prayer. To the
Jew, the Temple would be a very natural place for that.

However, on the other hand, that does not mean every person and their brother
needs to make a trek to the Temple in order to pray. That's not the point. I
don't think you're saying that. There needs to be balance. And the balance
must be a Biblical balance and NOT one motivated by the norm of our current
generation. And that brings me to my third point.

Third, notice the other phrase in Acts 2:42: "fellowship and breaking of
bread." This, IMO, is poorly translated in nearly every version. The way 2:42
is worded there are three items the early disciples devoted themselves to:
Apostles teaching, the times of group prayer, and (the middle one) the
partnering with each other which was intimately associated with a shared meal
around the Lord Jesus.

The original Greek text of 2:42 has the form: W and X Y and Z In other words,
the two middle constituents are combined (appositional).

One of the words used in that middle term is KOINONIA. This word was
frequently used in business contexts to denote business or contractual
partnerships. In other words, there was a partnership where people made a
commitment to one another. We tend to think of KOINONIA as a time of
socialization or in a social context. It's quite a bit more than that. This,
if considered alone, would tend to imply membership; however, Luke combines it
intimately with "breaking of bread." Why?

Looking at Paul's argument in 1 Cor. 11:17-34 we see the problem Paul addresses
there is NOT a ritual or even liturgical difficulty. The issue was people's
marginalization of the have-nots. In other words, the Corinthian church was
missing the fact that the Lord's supper was inherently a partnership action.
People brought food to celebrate a common meal, but it was to be a COMMON meal.
Anything less than that broke unity. In short, it was all about
relationships.

Now, back to Acts 2. That's why Luke combines "partnership" with "breaking of
bread". The action the disciples gave themselves to was not what we think of
when we use the term "liturgy". It had elements of ritual to it, but the
ritual was NOT the focus. The focus was people.

This people focus, in fact, was rather contrary to what the temple system had
become. This is why Jesus cleared the temple. That event wasn't about money
being bad; it was about a system that developed which shoved the poor off to
the side. We read Luke 21:1-4 as if Jesus is simply commending this poor
widow. But we need to read those sentences in the context of Luke 20:47.
Jesus isn't commending the widow as much as he is condemning what the temple
system had become. It had deteriorated so much that the poor were forced into
slavery in order to fund the temple treasury! How utterly awful!

To sum up then, the "the prayers" had an element of liturgy to it; however, I
think the point was really to refer to the importance of group prayer. That
is, set times when people met with people to pray to their God.

So, in all that, my point is that when we plant New Testament churches, seeking
to launch them on a NT basis, let's adopt a Biblical balance and make sure that
we mold the practice, NOT in a blind adherence to a 1st century liturgy, but to
the focus which permeates the entire NT. And that focus is people. If the
focus moves off the people and onto the system, then calcification has set in.
At that point the people are serving the scaffolding and not the scaffolding
the people ("the Sabbath is FOR the people and not the people for the
Sabbath").

I tend to think this is one of the duties of the church leadership. To make
sure the system does NOT shove out the people. So many in church leadership
view their "jobs" as making sure the machinery is well oiled (they're
administrators). Well oiled machinery is good, but let's not get our eyes off
of what gets measured. It's not about the system which gets measured, nor is
it the interactions which happen between various components of that system.
It's about people and it's about how those people interact.

Interestingly, it sometimes takes some gear grinding in order to get people to
focus on people. But, frequently it takes a good leader to properly guide
people toward that focus and away from a focus on a smooth turning crank. A
properly running church is one where the people glow with unity. If you have
that, nearly any system will work. I dare say if you have people glowing with
unity, the crank will turn on its own and the leadership will knell over in an
out of the way corner and humbly weep with tears of gratefulness.

Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa.

"The first one last wins." "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."

 


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