New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, March 21 2002 Vol 02 : 058
[NTCP] Welcome Dick Wright - prayer list compiler!
RE: [NTCP] Query
[NTCP] Re: need some advice
RE: [NTCP] Query
Re: [NTCP] Re: need some advice
Re: RE: [NTCP] Query
Re: [NTCP] NTCP: RE Establishing the complete Lordship of Jesus
RE: [NTCP] URGENT PRAYER REQUEST
Re: [NTCP] URGENT PRAYER REQUEST
Re: RE: [NTCP] URGENT PRAYER REQUEST
RE: [NTCP] Query

Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 16:44:42 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP]
Welcome Dick Wright - prayer list compiler!

Greetings to all,

We welcome Dick to the hctalk and ntcp email lists. Dick has been a newsgroup
participant for a long while and has volunteered to send a prayer list each
week to each of the three groups. This is a very exciting development and is
itself an answer to prayer.

Prayer is one thing that all of us agree upon, right? :-D A running prayer
list would serve as a reminder to remember other brothers and sisters who
request it.

When you submit your requests to the lists, be sure to include the word
"prayer" in the subject line so that Dick will be certain to see it and add it
to the list.

Dick comes to us from Summerville, SC, near Charleston, where he resides with
his wife and youngest daughter. He has two other daughters, both married. He
presently works as a sales rep with ADT Security Services, though he will
shortly leave, and begin with a specialty chemical company.

Again, we praise the Lord for Al and Beve for their faithful efforts as prayer
list coordinators.

Dick, we welcome you today in the eternal name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

David Anderson


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 10:11:12 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Query

Bob Lund wrote:

>What Keith is saying is exactly what is being said in 1 John2:27 (and 2:20).
>Every, and I mean every, church leader (especially church planter)on this
>planet ought to chew long and slow on these Scriptures.

I have been doing just that for a little over a year now-- chewing on those
very verses. And I can't for the life of me get past this hurdle into the
"spontaneous" "Quaker-esque" style of church gathering you, Keith, and a few
others on this list seem to be advocating as the NT norm. While John the
Apostle was writing that ...

"... you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth,"
(1 Joh. 2:20) ...

... and ...

"... the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need
anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as
that anointing is real, not counterfeit-- just as it has taught you, remain in
him" (1 Joh. 2:27), ...

... he was in fact TEACHING them. Did you catch my point? John was *teaching*
his readership when he penned those very words. Writing a letter of some
substance, with a specific purpose, intended to inform them and persuade them
toward a particular pre-planned result. He was not waiting for the Spirit to
come upon them independent of his own influence. And teaching. John was
providing them with truthful instruction that was to be *confirmed* by the
anointing his audience had already received. Now if I may attempt to provide
some historical perspective, I think we will then better see what John meant
when he penned the above words, ... and how we might apply his Holy
Spirit-inspired message to our own situations today. Irenaeus, in his 2nd
century work "Against Heresies," recorded the following story, received
firsthand from Polycarp (John's own disciple), which provides some background
into what was happening in Asia during the time when John wrote his letter(s):

"But Polycarp ..., whom I also saw in my [Irenaeus'] early youth, ... [said]
that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving
Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming,
'Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy
of the truth, is within.' .... Such was the horror which the apostles and
their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any
corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, 'A man that is an heretic, after
the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is
subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.'"

The main heresy floating around Asia during John's day, which the Apostle
abhorred and sought to counter through his 3 canonized letters, was propogated
by the above-mentioned Cerinthus. What evolved from his and others' false
teaching had two main denominations: 1) Doceticism- that Jesus was truly God,
but that he did not actually take on a physical body; that what people saw of
him was merely an apparition; and 2) Cerinthianism- that the mortal man Jesus
became "the Christ" when anointed by the Spirit at his baptism, but that the
anointing left him at his crucifixion and so the mortal Jesus died a mere man's
death, not as the unique Son of God-- while the [fickle] Christ Spirit lived on
independent of him, giving others the potential to themselves become Christs.

When the Apostle John wrote the words we read in his first letter (our focus
being the second chapter) he was addressing these (and other) specific false
doctrines. He instructed his readership that they too had the same *abiding*
anointing that Jesus had received, which then confirms the same truth which
Christ represents, ... embodies actually.

As John taught the recipients of his letter-- and that is what he was doing,
mind you: TEACHING them-- the Apostle had faith that the Holy Spirit of truth
(1 Joh. 4:6) would *confirm* what he was writing to their hearts. That the
anointing which they had recieved would help them discern between his faithful
instruction about Christ and the false teaching which was being disseminated
among their ranks by the Docetists and the disciples of Cerinthus. The true
nature of Christ which Paul had earlier taught the Asian churches, and which
John had more recently taught them (and was even then teaching them), could be
known universally because "the Word of life" had indeed come in a form which
could be "heard," "seen," "looked at [closely]," and "touched" (1 Joh. 1:1, 2).
Jesus was no phantom but had actually "come in the flesh" (1 Joh. 4:2).
Furthermore, Jesus was the one who had come "by water [his baptism] and blood
[his death]," beginning and ending his earthly ministry as the unique Son of
God (1 Joh. 5:5-8, bracketed comments mine). Thus they learned that God's
"anointing" does not flee, but "*remains* in [them]" (1 Joh. 2:20, emphasis
mine) to help them discern that what John was teaching them was true. Is still
true.

So do we gather together today without a plan and simply wait for God to show
up? Well, ... it's not necessarily a sin to do so. I guess. But that is not
what John meant when he wrote his letter. God had given gifted men to the
Church to teach Christ's Bride how to be spotless and holy (Eph. 4:11-16,
church planter. 5:27). Including teachers. And He does the same today. These
teachers should be given the opportunity to do just that-- teach. Even if it's
(and it often will be!) the same guys over and over again. They are the ones
God has uniquely gifted for the task. Their contribution is one way the body
is edified and brought to unity and maturity (and the two [maturity and unity]
are related, Eph. 4:13). Through the regular (and scheduled?) instruction of
those individuals designated and equipped by God to instruct the Church in
sound doctrine.

Michael
Jerusalem

P.S. I remember reading about a church in China which had, like, one page from
the NT between them all. It contained the verse: "I beat my body and make it
my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be
disqualified for the prize" (1 Cor. 9:27). Consequently, the church members
participated in self-flagellation. They were devout in their self-mulitation
because they didn't want to be "disqualified". They are an example of what
occurs when believers only have a small portion of Scripture. NO! In answer
to the question to your BIOLA profs, a congregation without the Bible in their
own language (unless they have it in another language which somebody can read
and thereby TEACH them) *cannot* reach full maturity in Christ. Do you know
too many that have reached full maturity with it?


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 10:14:12 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Re: need some advice

Dan S. responded to David J.'s post by writing:

>Just a suggestion - consider getting out of the mode of one man teaching.
>
>How about finding some basic written material that you trust. I personally
>would recommend Watchman Nee's "Messages for Building up New Believers". Those
>are 52 messages written particularly to help ground new believers in the truth
>over a period of 1 year.

Just some thoughts: doesn't your (Dan's) suggestion simply replace one man's
teaching (David's, "a leader['s]") with another *one man's* teaching (Watchman
Nee's, some other author's)? Via a book or a series of messages. And isn't
that-- at some point-- unavoidable? At the beginning level isn't it often wise
for new believers to receive *primary* instruction from only one or two
grounded teachers (kind of like young kids with their parents), then as they
mature, to gradually expose them to other emphases and viewpoints?-- through
various and varying teachers (kind of like getting the kids to read books,
taking them to the museum, participating in a home-school "pool," or even
sending them to camp). In other words, I'm not so sure we should worry too
much about weaning *baby believers* off of a particular person if it is through
that particular person that they seem to be thriving spiritually. Maturity
comes with time.

I remember when I was about one year old in the Lord, ... maybe a year and a
half. While in the Marine Corps. I attended two different Bible studies which
were both designed as doors to bring people into more intimate levels of
discipleship. One, led by an older man, focused more on doctrine. The other,
led by a group of about six men living together in a Christian community,
focused more on character. Both were important to me at that time, but I will
highlight the "character" group-- a spin-off of the Navigators, which often
used their material. They had several guys who led studies on my base, but
there was one man in particular who spoke the most to my heart. Fitz Neal. He
had a complimentary personality to mine which had the strength and stamina to
stand up to my relentless and admittedly immature attempts to dominate every
setting in which I found myself. He had a firm hand, something that I needed
at the time-- still do! In fact, it was one particular instance early in our
relationship, when he took me aside and gently reproved me for being
insensitive to the other young Christians in our discussion group, that
endeared him to me. That is, after I got over my month-long temper tizzy ("The
NERVE ...!!!"). Some time later, after he had seen me (eventually) respond
well to correction, he approached me with the prospect that we enter into a
discipleship relationship/commitment. After much prayer and consideration, I
declined his offer, being already committed to the older man's discipleship
group, but I still continued to learn *so much* from Fitz that I wouldn't have
received from the other godly, loving, well-qualified (but not-for-me) members
of his group. So for *this* list-member (and similarly for many other people
whom I have met and ministered to/with) one or two key teachers was what God
used to help me "find my legs" in the Lord. And ultimately to help turn my
focus toward Jesus.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 03:41:26 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Query

In yet another keen message, Michael wrote:

>... he was in fact TEACHING them. Did you catch my point? John was
>*teaching* his readership when he penned those very words. Writing a letter
>of some substance, with a specific purpose, intended to inform them and
>persuade them toward a particular pre-planned result. He was not waiting for
>the Spirit to come upon them independent of his own influence. And teaching.
>John was providing them with truthful instruction that was to be *confirmed*
>by the anointing his audience had already received.

Very good point, brother, concerning teaching, which is what our Lord commanded
his apostles to do, just as He Himself went forth preaching and teaching.
Sadly, teaching is not always welcome.

So central it was in the originial plan that when the apostles came, it was
recorded that the whole town was filled with their doctrine (teachings).

Acts 5:28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in
this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend
to bring this man&Mac185;s blood upon us.

And yet, spontaneous revelations are also teaching instruments.

David Anderson


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 05:46:33 -0500
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: need some advice

>I'm not so sure we should worry too much about weaning *baby believers* off of
>a particular person if it is through that particular person that they seem to
>be thriving spiritually. Maturity comes with time.
You are correct, and following Paul's admonition to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses,
the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

The important thing is to teach them that it is "normal" and "expected" to take
what you have taught them, and pass it along to others, in like fashion.

An older brother in the Lord had a bible study with me for over twelve years,
mostly one-on-one, yet I went on to minister in other works, in leadership, and
even starting an assembly. Because of the way he taught me.

He didn't "indoctrinate" me, but encouraged me to explore the Word, and dig for
the deeper meanings. If you do that, they will be moved by the Spirit to tell
others.

Dick Phil. 3:12-14


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 13:23:14 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: RE: [NTCP] Query

Just a point Michael. I am not advocating that gifted ministers don't minister,
teach etc. Just that they encourage others to move into their gifting. As
someone else said, I like to act as a facilitator. But an important part of my
ministry is teaching in an Ephesians 4 mode, ie I'm trying to equip others to
do the work of ministry, so that i can move on and equip others to do the work
of ministry.

Blessings and Prayers,
Keith


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 08:21:13 -0500
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] NTCP:
RE Establishing the complete Lordship of Jesus

Samuel Buick wrote:

>We have often had some people make some 'off the wall' comments, but as they
>are allowed to share, without being corrected, by the time the whole reading
>and discussion has taken place, what was 'flaky' 'fell to the ground' and the
>Spirit taught the gathering through a safe interaction where no one was judged
>and everyone got to participate. At the end the facilitator usually summarized
>the overall things that were shared.

Dear Sam,

I enjoy fellowship with a number of very mature believers who came out of a
stream where they saw their time together in The Lord as a kind of "threshing
floor". It was understood that everything that was brought to the floor was not
good to eat, but it was only in the process of threshing it that the really
edible stuff was separated from the rest. That understand encouraged everyone
to bring something, and allow the discussion to determine what constituted
chaff. Much like the discussions that take place here on the ntcp list. In
fact, there is now an Electronic Threshing Floor, "ETF" that I participate in.
It is mostly composed of those who were formerly of that stream, but they
suffer an occasional outsider like myself to dip my oar in.

In a presently ongoing discussion on the timing of the millenium, I was
challenged to defend the present reign of the saints, as distinct from a future
reign. The following came out of that discussion. I share it here, because I
believe that it brings out the importance of the right attitude when discipling
the nations:

"Last week, I got a revelation born out of the millennium exchange. I think it
would take about 20 hours to get all of it on paper.

I have taken the position that the millennium is now. My wrestling partner is a
very mature and well studied, and taught pre-millennialist. At present we are
working our way through the following list, which he has sent, insisting that I
provide Biblical evidence that all these things are happening or available now.

He wrote:

Again I list the facts.

1. They sit on thrones. 2. Judgment is given to them. 3. Among them are those
who have been beheaded during the reign of the beast because they would not
take his mark, name or number. 4. They are blessed and holy. 5. They cannot be
hurt of the second death. 6. They live and reign with Christ for a thousand
years. 7. They are the only ones who are resurrected before the thousand years
and no others are resurrected until the thousand years are finished.

Additional facts concerning the devil during the thousand years:

1. The devil is bound during this thousand years. 2. The devil cannot deceive
the nations during this time.

I may have been looking at all of this for many years now, but I was still
staggard by his list, and his challenge.

My reaction felt like I was the object of the punch line of the old joke:
"People who live in grass houses, shouldn't stow thrones."

As I thought about our present crowns, this is what came to me:

First of all two passages:

"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the
presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and
joy."1 Thessalonians 2:19,20

"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so
stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." Philippians 4:1

Admitting that the first reference is future, I went on to the second one in my
thoughts, at least, it is in the present.

But both of the passages make people to be a crown.

Even, if the crown would not be his until later on, Paul's crown was people.
How did he come by such a crown, the answer is in this Phillippians verse, the
N.I.V. puts it this way, "... you whom I love and long for..." His crown is the
people that he loves. The love he loves them with is the Love of Jesus, a love
that is good for enemies, the love that was defined at the cross.

That brought to mind two kinds of crowns. Gentile crowns, and Kingdom of God
crowns.

Gentile crowns are crowns that are based on having subjects. The Kingdom of God
crowns are based on being subject. The one makes subjects or victims out of
others. The other makes a subject or victim out of the one that wears it.

Reigning in the Kingdom of God is much different than reigning in the kingdoms
of this world.

What kind of crown does Jesus have?

"Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown
wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of
the gladness of his heart." Song of Songs 3:11

Solomon is the Son of David, and so is Jesus. Jesus was flesh on His mother's
side. The crown he wore is the crown that flesh put on him. The crown of thorns
was my crown, in fact, it was me. Wounded in the house of his friends. His
friends are his crown of thorns.

How big is our crown? How many friends do we have? How many can we love? How
many can we lay our lives down for? Jesus went to hell for His friends. How far
are we willing to go? Workers will go only just so far, but lovers will go all
the way. Our crown consists of those we love, even when they crucify us. That
was Jesus' crown, and that is our crown.

Why wait. Jesus wants to make lovers out of us today. In the Kingdom of God,
Love is the only way to reign.

We as Evangelicals have the wrong idea about reigning. we think like Gentiles,
and get all upset when we lose subjects. Perhaps it's because we have the wrong
idea of what subjects are:

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the
form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of
no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the
likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and
became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:5-8

The servant of all is the greatest of all.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 08:31:26 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] URGENT PRAYER REQUEST

Blessings Everyone!

I would not normally ask, but today I am going to my GP and will have blood
work done.

For 6 weeks my farsighted vision has begun to blur. I went to my optometrist
last Thursday. His conclusion was that it could be one of three things.

1. Stress 2. Cataract change 3. Diabetes

I have been receiving prayer for a complete healing. I am asking the brothers
and sisters on this list to pray for my healing. I will be getting the blood
work done this afternoon at 3:30 pm EST.

Thanks for your prayers.

Sammy


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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 09:28:32 -0500
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] URGENT PRAYER REQUEST

Samuel Buick wrote:

>I am asking the brothers and sisters on this list to pray for my healing.

Dear Sam,

I Pray that the peace of God will be reigning in your heart, mind, and body
today, that, like a river, that peace will water your garden, bringing only
what is good for growth and healing, washing away everything that might cause
bitterness or stress. In Jesus name!

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 20:11:19 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: RE: [NTCP] URGENT
PRAYER REQUEST

We're praying bro.

the folk in Spain


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


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 13:27:24 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Query

Keith wrote:

>Just a point Michael. I am not advocating that gifted ministers don't
>minister, teach etc. Just that they encourage others to move into their
>gifting. As someone else said, I like to act as a facilitator. But an
>important part of my ministry is teaching in an Ephesians 4 mode, ie I'm
>trying to equip others to do the work of ministry, so that i can move on and
>equip others to do the work of ministry.

No, I can see your point there, Keith. A one man talking show is not the way.
I agree. It alone does not edify the whole body of saints. But a key bone of
contention is that I still think there was a little more skeleton under the
skin of many (most?) NT meetings than you (and a few others) seem to think. I
could be wrong, but I've done a little research on the issue. If you'll
remember, I understand the early church to have inherited the ancient-- and, by
the way, fairly flexible-- synagogue liturgy, which became modified as the
gospel spread further into gentile lands. The data I've collected, some of
which I've posted, suggests that the church was liturgical from it's
inception. So it strikes me as odd to read someone advocate a NT church style
that has no discernable basis in the NT.

I know what you, Bob, Sam, and maybe a few others, were trying to do when you
offered Brother David J. your advice-- trying to establish the full Lordship of
Christ. Worthy goal. No argument there. But if I, for example, gave someone
advice on how to build a ranch-style house using only my favorite parts of the
blueprint-- while some parts of the diagram I ignored or re-defined because I
had some bad experiences with that style of architecture in the past-- and I
offered him some successful personal experiences with ... log cabins, he would
likely get a structure which would look a little ranchy(?), stand, and provide
adequate shelter. But would it really be a ranch-style house?-- according to
the blueprints, that is. In the same way, a NT church has to be NT through and
through. Where is the evidence for this leaderless structureless type of
church gathering?

Based on my study of the Bible, history, culture-- and making application to
our present settings-- there is a certain time in a modern NT meeting for
teaching. Some scheduled time. And there are times for silence. There are
times for prayer, prophetic utterances, tongues, words of wisdom, etc. and
there are times when these would (under most circumstances) be inappropriate.
Meetings were a little more structured back then than what you guys seem to be
advocating-- at least according to the direction the biblical, historical, and
archaeological evidence of the NT era church points.

In my last post, I simply wanted to highlight to Bob (and others) the fact that
1 John 2:20, 27 can't rightly be used as evidence for a "hang loose and just
wait for God to take over" approach to church meetings. That was Bob's
suggestion, not yours. I know. But your name got drug into it.

Now I'd like to anchor my objection about anybody's use of 1 Joh. 2:27 as a
proof-text for "free-form" meetings a little deeper since INA TIS DIDASKE UMAS
("... that anyone teach you"-- 1 Joh. 2:27) can be better translated, "that
anyone *keep* teaching you". DIDASKE is present tense (active voice,
subjunctive mood) and that is the Greek present tense's most basic meaning--
action in progress (Dana, H.E. and Julius R. Mantey. A MANUAL GRAMMAR OF THE
GREEK NEW TESTAMENT. NY: Macmillan Co. 1955, pp. 181-82). John's statement
implies that instruction on the topic had already occurred before he wrote his
letter. By a human teacher(s). Most Bible believing commentators on 1 Joh.
2:27 take this same position. The proper interpretation of the passage is then
that John's audience had *already* been taught the things mentioned in context
about the anti-christ(s)/deceivers (1 Joh. 2:22-26). It is stated explicitly a
few verses before:

"... what you *have heard* from the beginning" (1 Joh. 2:24, emphasis mine).

Thus John's readers/hearers did not need to return to spiritual first grade on
these matters. The anointing they had received remained with them and
certainly continued teaching them (DIDASKEI, present tense, active voice,
indicative mood) beyond-- but not necessarily independent of-- what some human
instructor(s) had already done. It was the Holy Spirit's job to "teach [them]
all things and [to] *remind* [them] of everything [Christ had already] said to
[them]" (Joh. 14:26, emphasis mine). That is also His job toward us today.
This position explains why God has ordained a teaching ministry in the Church
(Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11; Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 3:2; 4:13; 5:17; 6:3; 2
Tim. 1:13; 2:2; 2:24; 3:16; Tit. 2:7; Heb. 5:12; Jam. 3:1; 2 Joh. 1:9) to
expound the word under the Holy Spirit's aid, as part of the way Christ's Body
is built up. Interpreting 1 Joh. 2:20, 27 to mean that no human teachers, or
even the Bible, are necessary to reach maturity in the Lord-- just the Holy
Spirit-- pits one portion of inspired Scripture against another. And though
that is not Keith's position, it is some people's position, and that is indeed
wobbly ground on which to plant/establish NT churches.

Michael
Jerusalem


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #58

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