New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, February 20 2002 Vol 02 : 045
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
RE: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence - response to George
RE: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan
RE: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan
Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan
[NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence
[NTCP] Bishop does not automatically equal autocrat.

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 09:24:48 -0800
From: "George Patterson"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

Before totally trashing the concept of an overseer who helps new churches get
godly leaders in a pioneer field, please read Titus 1:5. To reproduce churches
in a pioneer field one soon discovers the need for such a person on the field
level.

George Patterson

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Sangrey" To: "New Testament Church
Planting" Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 9:20 AM
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."


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 18:20:11 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation

Hi Sam,

We had one of those here (the "bishop" I'm trying to trade in), cried and
hollered, manipulated and controled, until another leader and I confronted him.
We clearly said that we would no longer permit his tactics in any more
meetings. A few weeks later he started attacking our churches vision, saying
that we should build big rather than plant many. Other folk clearly told him
that he was on his own, then he started the tears the threats, the
manipulation. So i stood up and told him and the church that he had been warned
and asked him to sit down, suggesting that if he couldn't live with our vision
he go elswhere. he stormed out calling us all kinds of things you find under
rocks. He went off to another group and lasted one meeting, and then came back.
As the disciples said to Jesus, "only you have the words of everlasting life".
He found out where things were happening. But we're getting to the stage when
we need to speak to him again. You guys are the elders, you have the authority,
you've made a descission. Go for it, God will bless you, you may even win a
brother.

Blessings
Keith


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 12:37:17 -0500
From: Nathan Smith
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence

Hi all!

I want to thank Michael for researching these points out for us\me; it
has not only made me check things out, but has made me see the whole NTCPing
concept in a different light. At first this "evidence" was very distrubing to
me, because it was totally opposite to my preconceived view of what an assembly
of believers did in the NT. It made me re-think what the heart of NTCPing is
all about. Is NTCPing all about trying to copy the way NT believers met
together, or is it more than that? The NT church changed the world around them
in a dramatic way, and without a doubt that is the reason why we want to "go
back" to the example of the NT church for a clear picture of what it was that
so revolutionary. We want to see the world around us changed just like the
ancient world was changed in that time. So what changed the world? Was it the
way they met together? Was it the form their meetings took, or the place in
which they met? I don't think so. I think they changed the world for several
reasons:

A) They were a COMMUNITY of believers and each one took part in
minstering to each other. True koinonia.

B) Each believer sought to have
closer communion with God, and to walk in the spirit daily. In turn the spirit
of God was doing miraculous wonders thru them.

C) They were salt and light to
the people around them. For these reasons (maybe not exclusively but in a
broader sense) the NT "church" was a dynamic and living organism, and it wasn't
until they started to wander from these points that they started to become
ineffective and lethargic - which ultimately lead to the Dark Ages. So the
conclusion I've come up with regarding this evidence is, the form our meetings
take is really inconsequential (unless it's hindering the function) when it
comes down to NTCPing. Since there is no set "standard" layed out in scripture
on this subject we have to assume that the things that ARE mentioned (body
life, walking in the spirit, being salt and light) are the things that matter
most. Then let the form fit the function.


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 17:59:29
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Dealing with biblical confrontation

I considered the problem of administering Church discpline before we started
our work. My solution was to submit myself to the authority of an elderly
brother who is old in the faith (started pastoring at about age 17). He is very
highly respected in the body of Christ in my nation, his life has been
exlemprary, and as far as I know, beyond reproach.

I consider him not only an elder but also as a father in the faith.

For matters of discipline, I would call upon him to make an input as well as
any other respected elder that I feel confident in.

My prayer though is that we as a local group would be able to handle any
matters such as these. I do see however an advantage in having an independent
voice in administering guidance. Someone who would not be biased in any way to
a person or group and most importantly, someone with a fatherly heart towards
the body of Christ.

David Jaggernauth


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 18:16:26
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence

Nathan says:

>>Was it the form their meetings took, or the place in which they met? I don't
>>think so. I think they changed the world for several reasons:
>A) They were a COMMUNITY of believers and each one took part in
>minstering to each other. True koinonia.
>B) Each believer sought to have closer communion with God, and to
>walk in the spirit daily. In turn the spirit of God was doing miraculous
>wonders thru them.
>C) They were salt and light to the people around them.
THese three points to me are basically what true Christianity is all about.

What I have noticed though is that when we are truly in one Accord as the
scripture mentions several times, this is when we become most effective.

I have noticed in my own group that not everyone shares my zeal. very often,
the group cannot stay with me in prayer, they have to attend to other things or
sleep. My wife at times will begin a fast only to end it prematurely. If each
individual is filled with the same passion in seeking God, God will make things
happen. Look at what 120 passionate, zealous, excited believers did 2000 yrs
ago.

I dont believe we are yet in one accord. When you are in one accord only then
will you actually lay down your life for your brother. I am praying that our
hearts will begin to burn with passion.

David Jagg.


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

Date: 19 Feb 2002 14:27:19 -0500
From: Mike Sangrey
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence

On Tue, 2002-02-19 at 12:24, George Patterson wrote:
>Before totally trashing the concept of an overseer who helps new churches get
>godly leaders in a pioneer field, please read Titus 1:5. To reproduce churches
>in a pioneer field one soon discovers the need for such a person on the field
>level. George Patterson

George, I apologize ahead of time for missing what you're saying. Given only
what you say above, I have to say I agree 100%. I've even taught it. Could
you help me out? Apparently I've...ummmm..."trashed" something you hold quite
strongly to, but I don't know what that is. Could you tell me?

A sincere thank you.

Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa. "The first one last wins." "A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 14:33:23 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: Confronting the evidence - response to George

George: No one is debating your statement. Some of us though understand that
'overseer' to be an apostolic church planter, and not a 'bishop', that's all!

Sammy


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 14:53:56 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan

Hi Nathan:

Well it seems we keep going around the same proverbial mountain...


From: Nathan Smith

>We want to see the world around us changed just like the ancient world was
>changed in that time. So what changed the world? Was it the way they met
>together? Was it the form their meetings took, or the place in which they met?
> I don't think so. I think they changed the world for several reasons:

>A) They were a COMMUNITY of believers and each one took part in
>minstering to each other. True koinonia.

You can't have true 'koinonia' in an institutional church setting. It
involves interaction and dialogue and getting in each others faces and food!
It involves fellowship and genuine body life and expression. Try that in a
religious building...it won't work! But meet in a home or a place that is
condusive to 'familial' interaction, then koinonia will have a chance to break
out!

>B) Each believer sought to have closer communion with God, and to
>walk in the spirit daily. In turn the spirit of God was doing miraculous
>wonders thru them.

While this is the centre of our own walk, the corporate expression of all the
people in community is explosive in the Spirit! Again, our 'familial'
surroundings have an impact on how this is expressed even on an individual and
corporate basis.

>C) They were salt and light to the people around them.

You can be very effective salt and light in the most ordinary place, your home,
when you invite others to share their lives with you. Here they see what Jesus
means day and day out. It is REAL!

>For these reasons (maybe not exclusively but in a broader sense) the NT
>"church" was a dynamic and living organism, and it wasn't until they started
>to wander from these points that they started to become ineffective and
>lethargic - which ultimately lead to the Dark Ages.

Dont forget the biggest SCAM in Christian history, the CORPORATE TAKEOVER by
Constantine...the 'company' is still recovering!!!

>So the conclusion I've come up with regarding this evidence is, the form our
>meetings take is really inconsequential (unless it's hindering the function)
>when it comes down to NTCPing.

I disagree, I think that the from will dicate how effective the function is of
the body. Form has far more influence in hindering body life and expression
than you know. I can't be intimate in a religious building, it shuts down
intimacy by it's very design. So, rather than continue the same thing in
attempting intimacy, body life and expression in an old wineskin, lets just try
a whole new wineskin.

The old wineskin will spoil the new wine. We need to recognize that if the
goal is to win others to Christ so that they can have a deep passionate love
affair that forever changes their lives, then they need to gather regularly
with others who are as passionate as they are. Again it won't work in a
religious building!

>Since there is no set "standard" layed out in scripture on this subject we
>have to assume that the things that ARE mentioned (body life, walking in the
>spirit, being salt and light) are the things that matter most. Then let the
>form fit the function.

Yes we can 'infer' standard if we look that they had ekklesia in houses/homes.
It is the inferred place, or location of body life, moving in the Spirit, and
being the salt and the light. It is the place where kononia took place. It is
inferred and the burden of history bears out, 'they met from house to house...'
and for good reason, the very expansion of the church you are speaking about.

Do we truly realize that it wasn't until the dispersion of the Jews and the
destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70 that the church actually
dispersed and spread across the entire Roman empire? Yes there were pockets of
believers all over the Roman world, but when the Old Covenant was fulfilled and
the temple in ruins, the church went on its greatest expansion, 'from house to
house' all over the Roman world.

I also find it intriguing that the Hebrew view of religion places a lot of
significance on actual places and meeting places where God encounters His
people, such as Bethel, or the Temple, but in the NT, the emphasis is a
transition from the temple, to people. We are the temple of God and His
dwelling place. The emphasis is no longer on religious places and journeying
and sacrificing there and returning home. It is on our being the holy place of
the Most High! What an awesome reality, and what a great expression of Spirit
life, when we gather together and meet from house to house!

Blessings,

Sam


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 15:52:23 -0500
From: Nathan Smith
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan

Hi Sam. I just want to clarify my statements a little...

Sam said:
>
You can't have true 'koinonia' in an institutional church setting. It
involves interaction and dialogue and getting in each others faces and food!
It involves fellowship and genuine body life and expression. Try that in a
religious building...it won't work! But meet in a home or a place that is
condusive to 'familial' interaction, then koinonia will have a chance to break
out!
>
I didn't mean institutional church setting when refering to meetings. I meant
that the location (ie. Temple, house, barn, or cow pasture) doesn't mean
anything in the level a group of believers can be knit together in koinonia. I
will agree that the institutional church structure or "overhead" isn't
condusive to fostering close relationships, but if we trying to build NT
gatherings I really don't think it matters if we meet in a house or in an open
field someplace. If the people meeting with one another are seeking to build
close relationships with one another, the meeting place become a non issue IMHO.
>
You can be very effective salt and light in the most ordinary place, your home,
when you invite others to share their lives with you. Here they see what Jesus
means day and day out. It is REAL!
>
I totally agree!

>
Dont forget the biggest SCAM in Christian history, the CORPORATE TAKEOVER by

Constantine...the 'company' is still recovering!!!
>
I STILL feel that it was a process that started a long time before Constantine
came along. If the church was functioning properly at that time, I don't think
we would've had the Dark Ages.

>
I disagree, I think that the from will dicate how effective the function is of
the body. Form has far more influence in hindering body life and expression
than you know. I can't be intimate in a religious building, it shuts down
intimacy by it's very design. So, rather than continue the same thing in
attempting intimacy, body life and expression in an old wineskin, lets just try
a whole new wineskin.

The old wineskin will spoil the new wine. We need to recognize that if the
goal is to win others to Christ so that they can have a deep passionate love

affair that forever changes their lives, then they need to gather regularly
with others who are as passionate as they are. Again it won't work in a
religious building!
>
How do you explain the historical writings that indicate a fairly rigid (IMO)
meeting structure that you and I would think wouldn't be condusive to fostering
koinonia, but yet indicate otherwise and even shows that they were being used
of God in incredible ways to revolutionize whole cities?? I personally have a
hard time imagining how liturgy and structured services that Justin the Martyr
was writing about could've had the spirit flowing at all, but obviously it did,
so I can't discount it soley because the form doesn't fit my "box" of how I
think God will move the best.

>Since there is no set "standard" layed out in scripture on this subject we
>have to assume that the things that ARE mentioned (body life, walking in the
>spirit, being salt and light) are the things that matter most. Then let the
>form fit the function.

>
Yes we can 'infer' standard if we look that they had ekklesia in houses/homes.
It is the inferred place, or location of body life, moving in

the Spirit, and being the salt and the light. It is the place where kononia

took place. It is inferred and the burden of history bears out, 'they met from
house to house...' and for good reason, the very expansion of the church you
are speaking about.
>
Yes they met in homes, but they also met in temples and synogogues - sp?.

>
Do we truly realize that it wasn't until the dispersion of the Jews and the
destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70 that the church actually
dispersed and spread across the entire Roman empire? Yes there were pockets

of believers all over the Roman world, but when the Old Covenant was fulfilled
and the temple in ruins, the church went on its greatest expansion, 'from house
to house' all over the Roman world.

I also find it intriguing that the Hebrew view of religion places a lot of
significance on actual places and meeting places where God encounters His
people, such as Bethel, or the Temple, but in the NT, the emphasis is a
transition from the temple, to people. We are the temple of God and His
dwelling place. The emphasis is no longer on religious places and journeying
and sacrificing there and returning home. It is on our being the

holy place of the Most High! What an awesome reality, and what a great
expression of Spirit life, when we gather together and meet from house to
house!

Blessings,

Sam


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

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:01:45 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re:
Confronting the evidence - Response to Nathan

Dear Nathan:

Dark ages were the result of an evolution of two great monoliths colliding and
not being able to stem the tide of the Dark Ages. These two great beasts were
the institutional church (RC church/Pontif) and the Roman Empire. When Rome
was sacked and left without a solid administration, the Papacy stepped in and
took over the civil power, and the 'head of the church' took Caesar's title
PONTIF, and made it his own and has never relinquished it.

When the Roman episcopate advanced in the nations, it assimilated and
controlled regional churches or destroyed them altogether. This is what
happened to the Celtic church, yet is was strong enough to be a light of
civilization to Europe during those Dark Ages. There was enough body life and
community life that had a semblance to what you and I would call house church,
but more and more the priests and the episcopate came to control church life.

In fact I would argue that the Dark Ages solidified the hold of the episcopate
over the saints in the church and have never relinquished their hold.

Sam

PS. I am a Northern Irishman who loves this period of history as it is one of
the few periods in which the Irish seemed to have been unified and actually did
some could in spreading the Light to Europe.


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

Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 10:23:20 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] RE:
Confronting the evidence

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>We have a long way to go. It is interesting to note that all the difficulties
>we are having were present since the inception of the Church and many of these
>issues were addressed in the scriptures.
>
>Would it be much easier if we had a bishop??

A bishop (overseer) was not a cure-all, but he did (does) serve a purpose. And
his presence too was addressed in the Scriptures. You probably do have one in
your midst, David. If such an one desires to be a bishop, he desires a good
thing ... (1 Tim 3:1).

Stephanie Bennett wrote:

>Honestly, I think the 'easier' choice is the primary reason history has always
>found CHristianity choosing bishops and other earthly heads instead of
>recognizing the priesthood of the believer.

If "bishops" are allowed by Scripture, why quibble about it, Stephanie? Do you
have a better plan than God? Furthermore, the easier choice is not always the
wrong choice since THE BISHOP (Jesus) once said, "For My yoke is easy and My
burden is light" (Mat. 11:30). None of this about bishops conflicts with the
biblical doctrine of every believer's priesthood. Where does your
understanding that it does come from? Like the Pharisee movement we can
sometimes draw the guidelines too tight in reaction to perceived evil. Thus
creating an evil. Why not allow what the Bible allows and only forbid what it
forbids? Why add rules to the revelation?

Jay Ferris wrote:

>It is quite clear that this is a lot to ask, even command, even coming from
>Jesus, so, what we do is sacrifice the corporate revelation, the revelation of
>Jesus that is bigger than any one of us, the revelation that causes Him to
>increase, and ourselves to decrease, and we substitute the vision of the
>leader. Call him Church Planter, Bishop, Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Reverend,
>Rector, Elder, Father, Elder Brother, Mother...., and on , and on, and on.
>It's still the image, oops, the vision of a man, and not the revelation of
>Jesus.

If we are doing it God's way (i.e. according to the BOOK through His Spirit),
why would we have to sacrifice the corporate vision for a one man show? I
don't get it. Is this the way it *has* to be? Black or white? Bishop does not
automatically equal autocrat.

Michael
Jerusalem


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

Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 07:43:43 EST
From: Steffasong
Subject: [NTCP] Bishop does not automatically equal autocrat.

Bishop does not automatically equal autocrat, Michael. You are correct, sir.
:-)

A true overseer manifests the character of Christ, and walks in a level of
maturity that displays meekness, gentleness and the true authority of Christ. I
have known such ones.

However, just because something is permissible or allowable does not mean that
it is ideal or edifying. The NT allows divorce for the reason of
unfaithfulness, but is divorce good or godly?

When you wrote this, Michael, "If "bishops" are allowed by Scripture, why
quibble about it, Stephanie?" it caused me to smile and wonder at your logic
for I know from your other posts that you seem very logical. I quibble because
I long to see the full expression (the full measure of Christ: Eph.) manifest
on this Earth in the church. I don't believe that Paul's heart (which was
reflecting the heart of our Father) in Ephesians 1 was just a fairytale or
wishful thinking. I BELIEVE that it's Eternal reality, and that the functioning
of the church on this Earth is something that dazzles our Daddy's heart. I
want to see Him smile. I want to see Jesus lifted up, not myself, or a special
apostle, or a movement, or ANYONE of my many gifted brothers or sisters. I
want to see Jesus lifted up, and only the church can truly do that. (Ephesiand
1: 17-21)

Perhaps your questions is best answered with a question: If every scripture
verse was crystal clear in the context of our 21st century understanding, why
do we spend time in Bible School, why do we spend the time studying hebrew and
greek, why spend time here on the list exhorting one another and challenging
one another, spurring each other on to greater and greater insight?

You also said, "None of this about bishops conflicts with the biblical doctrine
of every believer's priesthood. Where does your understanding that it does
come from? "

Oh brother, ... I simply cannot let that slide. SCRIPTURALLY it does not
conflict at all with the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer, but in
practice it surely does.

My understanding comes from years of studying (and seeing) the dissonance
between the Biblical mandates and the contemporary and historical practices of
the church.

If we (the greater Body of Christ throughout history) understood in practice
what it means to function or ACT like the Body, we would have no problem with
the presence of an overseer/bishop. First, bishops would not use their
maturity and responsibility to lord it over the younger ones or silence them,
and would not be the main voice.

When there is a main voice of one man or one woman in the local Body of Christ,
it muffles the Voice that we all need for healing, restoration, and TRUE
growth.

Based on the WHOLE body of scripture, I can say definitively that the silence
of the lambs is NOT what the Spirit had in mind when He thought up the church.
The work of the bishop/overseer has more often served to do this, than function
in their God-given role as overseer.

Take one moment and picture the rows and rows of pews in modern churches AND
conferences. Do you see or hear any believers speaking, bringing a psalm, a
hymn or a spritual song to the meeting? No. By and large we see quiet (bored)
people attempting to listen to the gifted one up at the front. The interested
ones may have their Bibles open in their laps, but still, .... do you hear them
contributing anything?

I would be REALLY encouraged to hear of church gatherings throughout the world
that encourage pew-sitters to function who also have an overseer. Truth is, the
place where we are fellowshippiing has an overseeing brother who really does
encourage the functioning of the saints. His character and actions reflect the
Lord as well. Unfortunately, I find this to be rare, Michael.

Have a great day, Stephanie


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #45

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