New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Monday, March 25 2002 Vol 02 : 061
Re: [NTCP] Weekly Prayer Needs
[NTCP] 1st and 21st centuries compared
RE: [NTCP] Query
[NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?
RE: [NTCP] Query
RE: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?
RE: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?
Re: [NTCP] Query
Re: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?

Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 10:10:25 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Weekly Prayer Needs

Greetings everyone!

I received an email from Robert Fitts and one of his intercessors who happens
to be a doctor who practices with the doctor who wrote "The Diabetes Cure". He
suggested I take four supplements. I have done so since last Wednesday, and
already I am seeing, literally seeing changes in my eyesight! I know that
through prayer and aligning myself to that which is good and responsible for my
body, that the Lord will perform the miracle I am crying out for.

I go to the the optometrist on 1 April, and to my GP on the 9'th of April. The
blood work results are being forwarded to the optometrist. I should have a
better idea of what is going on by then. Please continue to pray.

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 23:01:53 -0500
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] 1st and 21st centuries compared

Hi everyone,

Our town of Bristol, TN hosted 152,000 screaming NASCAR fans today at the
world's fastest 1/2 mile track. Wish they were as excited about knowing God
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Some are, of course.

The love of entertainment has been viewed as a great hindrance to the gospel in
our day and it certainly is. But hey, there were plenty of pleasure lovers in
the Roman empire.

In that day, one superpower nation essentially policed the world. Religions
were "tolerated." Communications were cutting edge. Transportation was the
world's wonder. Some of the roads still remain.

What other similarities? Whatever - nothing can forever obstruct the true
gospel WHICH IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION. SO GET ON BOARD OR GET OUT OF
THE WAY!

David Anderson


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 08:49:05 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Query

Linkus bar Hud (Link Hudson) wrote:

>The implications of liturgy in early meetings might be slightly implied, if
>you read between the lines, but the NT doesn't _teach_ us to be liturgical.
>THe text doesn't emphasize it.

True enough. Liturgy ("a set order of service") is specifically mentioned in
Act. 13:2, but without any implications explained (see "Confronting the
Evidence" thread, Feb. 18 for the evidence why LEITOURGOUNTON should be
rendered "as they performed a liturgy"). I admit that. But neither does the
NT teach us *anything* about clapping our hands or using musical instruments in
worship. You might argue that it doesn't need to; hand-clapping and
instrumental music were going on a-plenty in the OT. And I would say, "RIGHT!"
... and so was liturgical worship. What's more, I maintain that if we want to
worship God on earth the way He currently is worshipped in heaven, ...

("... your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" [Mat. 6:10]).

... then it behooves us to pay attention to the only two biblical passages
which give us a window into angelic (and others') worship-- both heavily
steeped in temple imagery and liturgy:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and
exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs,
each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they
covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one
another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his
glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the
temple was filled with smoke" (Isa. 6:1-4).

And ...

"After this I looked, and ... before me was a door standing open in heaven ....
and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it ....
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and ... twenty-four
elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads ....
Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing .... Also before the throne there
was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around
the throne, were four living creatures .... Day and night they never stop
saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to
come.' Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who
sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall
down ... and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They ... say: 'You are
worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created
all things, and by your will they were created and have their being ....' Then
God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of
his covenant .... After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the
tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened. Out of the temple came the seven
angels .... They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes
around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven
angels seven golden bowls .... And the temple was filled with smoke from the
glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple ..." (Rev.
4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8, church planter. Heb. 8:5; 9:24).

I do not believe one's fellowship *has* to be what some would call "high
church" in order to qualify as an honest-to-goodness congregation. In my Mar.
20 post I was reacting to what I perceived to be those advocating an almost
leaderless, structureless church gathering, ... and equating "spontaneous" with
"spiritual". As if any of that were NT! But even in 1 Cor. 14 (favorite
chapter of some in the anti-liturgical crowd) Paul still insists that
"everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (vs. 40). That word
for "orderly" (TAXIS-- from which we get the word "taxonomy") has as it's
primary definition in:

1. FRIBERG GREEK LEXICON- "an arrangement for temple service; sequence, fixed
succession, order". 2. UNITED BIBLE SOCIETY GREEK DICTIONARY- "order, division,
succession (of priests)" (parenthetical comments within the quotation
*theirs*). 3. LOUW-NIDA LEXICON- "an ordered or arranged sequence".

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see liturgical implications there. If
you think about it, a little liturgy is almost(?) unavoidable since liturgy is
really an outline of events within a meeting. A spine, so to speak. And most
so-called "non-liturgical" churches still end up inadvertently following a
liturgy of some kind. The question then becomes, do we simply follow what we
*feel* or *think* is right, or do we somehow anchor our practices in the Bible?
In other words, if we claim to be a NT church, yet avoid that evidence
(biblical, historical, archaeological) which all indicates that the NT church
was itself liturgical, and we imitate some pattern or "non-pattern" we
*imagine* the early Church to have followed-- but which we cannot support
objectively-- aren't we simply describing ourselves as "NT" in vain? ...
possibly running from our true heritage, chasing a fantasy. To put it another
way, how far can we stray from the NT church (Jew and gentile elements) in the
pursuit of "freedom in the Spirit" or even cultural relevance and still call
ourselves NT? I don't have an easy answer for that one. I'm asking you (all).

>How could this have taken place in a meeting which was strictly liturgical,
>following a Jewish synagogue liturgy?

First of all, I did mention in my last post that the Jewish liturgy was
"modified" for specifically NT practices. And gentile settings. I also
mentioned then that the ancient synagogue liturgy was "flexible" (see "Query"
thread, my Mar. 20 post; also see Levine, Lee I. THE ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 2000). The only liturgical elements that we know
for sure existed in synagogues during Jesus' day were:

1) the recitation of the SH'MA (Deut. 6:4-- "Hear O Israel ..."), 2) the
AMIDAH, a time of silent personal prayer followed by a series of eighteen
blessings (with fairly fluid wording back then) done while standing, 3) the
scheduled public reading of the TORAH (Law) and HAFTORA (Prophets and
Writings), 4) a short sermon, done in monologue and/or dialogue style, 5) and a
time to discuss the sermon

There is more we suspect was there, such as the singing of Psalms (Eph. 5:19;
Col. 16), the chanting and wording of certain other blessings, the three-fold
"holy, holy, holy" (Isa. 6:1-4; Rev. 4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8), etc., but we can't
prove it. Yet. The above numbered list is certain though. Now read Luk.
4:16ff with new eyes. We know with near certainty what the Torah portion was
that was read (by someone else) that day in Nazareth because we know the
section of the prophets (Isa. 61) from which Jesus was reading. There has been
an assigned section of the prophets linked to an assigned section of the Torah
since the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes (167 B.C.). The Jews back then
completed their cycle of Torah/Haftorah readings every three years. About the
length of Jesus' public ministry ...

Also we know for certain that many Jewish followers of Jesus remained in the
synagogues of the Roman world after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (70
A.D.), and continued following the ancient liturgy for a while with no
"Christian" modifications at all, because by around 90 A.D. a 19th "blessing"--
really a curse-- was added to the AMIDAH which, according to the Talmud
(B'RAKHOT 28b), was intended to root out MINIM (sectarians-- a broad term which
included Jews who followed Jesus). The idea was that a person would not
normally stand and call down a curse upon him/herself and therefore would
eventually leave the synagogue voluntarily. If a Jewish person stumbled in the
public recitation of the "blessing" then he/she was at once suspected of being
a MIN and handled accordingly. In one quite ancient written version of the
eighteen (plus one) blessings, discovered in the Cairo (Egypt) GENIZAH (place
to store Jewish sacred writings), the text specifically pin-points the NOTZRIM
(Nazarenes, i.e. Christians) among the MINIM to be excised from the
(non-believing) synagogue services. Justin Martyr (2nd cent. A.D.), Origin
(3rd cent. A.D.), and Jerome (4th cent. A.D.) all mention this "cursing of
Christians" within the ancient synagogue too. The curse has since been
modified to condemn general evil doers only, and no longer specifically
mentions NOTZRIM. These early Jewish believers in Jesus-- of which it is
recorded in the Talmud and other ancient writings about some of them that they
would lay hands on people and heal them-- had no hang-ups about liturgy. It
did not stifle CHARISMATA and, what's more, it was their inheritance. From the
synagogue. Which got it from the Temple. Which got it from the Tabernacle.
Which got it from ... heaven (Isa. 6:1-4; Rev. 4:1-11; 11:19; 15:5-8, church
planter. Heb. 8:5; 9:24). The modern aversion to liturgy is a new, mainly
western phenomena-- a reaction to Catholicism. Not a careful and honest
reading of the biblical text.

>But the Bible doesn't even go into detail about this. We can only guess based
>on cultural context.

Well, ... no. We have more than cultural context. We have Act. 13:2. And now
1 Cor 14:40. But you are right that liturgy is not a point of focus in the NT;
it is assumed rather than commanded. I wouldn't split a church over the issue,
but I would challenge those attempting to be "NT" in their expressions to
consider liturgy as a very real option, particularly liturgy which seeks to
incorporate elements from the two scenes of heavenly worship, and to not react
out of bias and mis-information.

>We also need to keep in mind that the synagogue meeting allowed for regular
>members of the synagogue to preach, incorporated several people in the
>congregation in the work of reading the scriptures (in Hebrew/Aramaic
>synagogues, at least) and had a forum during which men could discuss the
>scriptures and the sermon for today-- not things many of us associate with
>modern church 'liturgy.'

Right you are! Liturgy back then was more "user friendly". And perceived as
benign. Many of us today are still fighting the dragon of medieval
Catholicism, in which *every detail* of a church service is dictated by
custom-- and hence we cannot be objective enough about the issue of liturgy to
consider it from a truly NT perspective. Our point of reference tends to be
Protestant (in contradistinction to Catholic) rather than simply biblical. I
say it's time to change! What say you?

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 09:57:32 +0100 (MET)
From: David Cummings
Subject: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?

Brothers and Sisters, I don't usually share with strangers about my life but
find it an awkard time in church life and secular life to share this with my
fellow brothers. I will start by saying. First off that I am 22 years old. I
was adopted when I was 6. And that God truly is my strength and my all in all.
Without Him. I do not exist.

My little sister (21) and I were abused as children. And later separated by
social services after our parents commited suicide. We were abused
physically,emotionally,and sexually. And the "rebirthing therapy" we both went
through for 6 years did more damage. She has "hidden" the memories after
numerous suicide attempts and her adopted mother tried to kill her when she was
14. She came to Christ when she was 17 only to become disenchanted by church
when she was 19. Then joined the Mormon church. She left there after becoming
"confused" by the teaching that was so foreign to the Jesus she knew. She just
wanted Jesus. She left the Mormon Church recently. She is now "un churched" but
not "un Christian". She currently serves as an EMT in Aurora,Co. Not a very
good area of town. She serves the discards. The stab victimes,gun shot victims,
drug overdoses. In fact she works for the same ambulance company that pulled
her out of a drug overdose 7 years ago. In fact her boss was on the call. This
has made her realize her reliance solely upon Jesus. She loves Jesus and like
Jesus she loves people every day of her life. I am glad she has "forgotten" the
memories. I wish I could.

God and I met when I was 6. He was all I had. I believed in Him and He told me
I was special. In spite of all the wounds, I tried to cleave to my new family
but it didn't work out. So God sent me to a Christian Children's Ranch in
Montana when I was 13. Where I studied Theology under a Doctor of Theology. But
they couldn't teach me how to love again. I thought love was following the
rules and doing what people wanted you to do. I wanted badly to please my new
family after being rejected for my 'emotional damage and problems" After High
School I joined the Navy only to be released after 6 months and being diagnosed
with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which plagues me to this day. My family has
never forgiven me for in their word "blowing this great opportunity". I served
for 2 and half years in various churches as youth pastor,children's pastor,and
"associate minister" of a small town church. I helped plant 2 churches. But it
all left me empty. Relationships were still broken. My life still a mess.
Recently I realized that I only had Jesus Christ. And since I have only clung
to Him. Slowly he has led me out of legalism and is putting his Law on my
Heart. Making me a man after His Heart. The scars and nightmares still inflict
me. For the last 3 months especially. I spend nights in tears or not sleeping
because of the horrors of the memories. I have prayed to God daily that it
would go away. But it doesn't. It keeps me humble. Because I have this freedom
to live in Christ. It is my thorn. I remember daily that I can not earn my way
to heaven. Nor am I perfect except through Christ Jesus. I have asked the
people I hurt for forgiveness only to be told I am not a part of their family
anymore. That hurts. But it proves no matter how hard I try I can do nothing
with out Christ. Even fix a broken relationship. 6 months ago I fell in love.
To a Jewish girl from Tel Aviv. We were engaged quickly and i know why. God
told me to get engaged to her. And strangly he told me to trust Him. We will
never get married. But because we got engaged she a Jew and I a Christian she
believed and she began to love people again. She saw the Love of God in me. Not
that I brag. But she saw me cry over the lost. And she realized she wanted what
I had. She has in the last month returned to Israel our relationship recently
broken apart and shared the gospel with her native people. A people who badly
need to love their enemies, and pray for those who persecute them. Just like
me.

God has put it on my heart to love people, and love Him. To pick the rags off
the ragpile of life. Humans who have been discarded by the world,by the church,
by their families. This is my calling. It is all I have. Not a single possesion
but Christ. No passion but Jesus, My Deliverer. God has told me He will bring
people to Him using my tears. my memories....the ones that haunt me.. And I
realize....He is my Deliverer.

My heart goes out to the victims of abuse. Especially sexual abuse. I shed a
tear for them tonight because I can't sleep again. Tears pour down my cheeks.
It won't go away. And many more are awake for the same reason. I will go to
them and reach them so I can tell them about Jesus. About what He has done for
me.

And even if He hasn't healed me. I know someday He will. I long to be in Heaven
today. Tonight. But it is not so. I must tarry to share what He has done for
me. He died for me. So that I might have eternal life. I can't wait to have a
new body. And a new soul. Mine is tired.

Please pray for strength and endurance. Pray for energy and the Holy Spirit's
guidance and healing. Pray that if God will's that this would all go away. Many
say I must continue to rest and God will give me new energy. But God is telling
me to give my life away every day and I will have a new one someday. I long for
that. I wish I could love better. I wish I had more to give. Thanks for the
prayers and encouragement.

A son in the faith, David


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 06:22:13 -0500
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Query

Liturgy back then was more "user friendly".

>And perceived as benign. Many of us today are still fighting the dragon of
>medieval Catholicism, in which *every detail* of a church service is dictated
>by custom-- and hence we cannot be objective enough about the issue of liturgy
>to consider it from a truly NT perspective. Our point of reference tends to
>be Protestant (in contradistinction to Catholic) rather than simply biblical.
>I say it's time to change! What say you?
>
>--MICHAEL
Jerusalem

Very thoughtful post, and one that brings out some thought provoking points.

Two contributions:

! Cor.14 should be taken in the context it was written, and not so tied to
Jewish practices of the time, even though they certainly impacted early
meetings.

Liturgy, as practised in most institutional churches, impedes rather than
encourages, the free operation of the Spirit. It makes us feel secure through
anticipated manifestations, but makes implementation of ! Cor. 14 unlikely.

But to impose either order is to put God in a box. Love Him and you will keep
His commandments.

Dick Phil. 3:12-14


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 09:12:05 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?

Oh, david, I would love to talk to you. My husband and I went through some
similar experiences, and since I testified at that priest molesting thing, my
seizures haven't stopped!

please write me in private IF you will?

vanessa


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 09:12:08 -0400
From: "vanessadd"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?

I wonder if the suffering makes us want to help more? I also like to work with
the street people, the abused, drugged, like your sister. Nothing gives me more
pleasure that showing them we don't all want to hurt them.

I'd also like to learn more about that christian children's ranch. Could that
be reproduced here? Now that I have gained the support of PDVSA, I need MANY
projects so they can choose which to carry out. Remember, that is the 3rd
biggest oil company in the world, and their profits are ALL for the government,
and they are allowes to take as much as they want for social programs.

Blowing an opportunity? That sounds like my parents! Now that PDVSA called me,
they are keeping their mouths shut... which had begun when David A sent me that
donation.

Did you know that your (and my) family problems seem to be what drives so many
kids into drugs? Have you heard that Gorrilla song, named Clint Eastwood?
First, it describes the feeling of buying drugs, being about to take them, and
then says "finally, someone let me out of my cage." The kids feel like they are
in a cage, and the drugs release them... to prevent drug use, commercials will
never help. ONLY making sure the kids are not in a 'cage' can help. I always
tell parents that I counsel never to make their children feel like prisoners.

David, you WILL be healed. My husband, who was his aunt's sex toy for years,
and I, who just can't remember because i ewas so young, have healed by saving
others. We even walk the dangerous streets and protect the younger from the
older kids. NOTHING can heal like helping others.

LOVE, and do write privately if you'd like to vent details to someone who
understands in her and husband's own flesh. We discuss these things all the
time, trying to find a solution.

Vanessa


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 09:54:22 -0500
From: AOM Canada
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Query

In every context of house church, wherever anything has been repeated by 'rote'
even though that person may be passionate about it, as in reciting the
Apostles' Creed, there is always a 'deadness' to it. For all good intentions,
liturgy chokes out the very life we want to see expressed when we gather.

Even when someone shares the content of prose, poetry, and such in a gathering,
what we love to see expressed is not the mere fact that a piece of literature
has impacted someone, but how and why it impacted them. We seek to explore why
and how we feel and seek understanding at the inner transformation taking place through the Spirit.

Liturgy may indeed connect us to the past, but for me it is the wrong past. It
is as if to say, let us look for the tiger by retracing his footprints. We will
only be able to trace the path of the tiger as long as the imprints remain, but
we may never know where he is going if we are going backwards in the past! I
am more concerned about following the way of the Spirit as He is moving now
than connecting through liturgy to the past. I am more concerned about where
the Lord is now that where He was yesterday. I want fresh bread from Him today
than the stale bread of yesterday! I want fresh running water now, than the
stuff I have bottled and collected yesterday!

While I believe in remembering more of the Hebrew holy days, I do so in a
prophetic way as they are fulfilled in Jesus. And I do so as a present reality
not tied down to Judaism and its religious rites, by emphasizing the reality of
what Jesus has accomplished for me and continues to accomplish in my life. It
is not dead formalistic liturgy, but a recognition of the continuity of the
scarlet thread of redemption, not only through history, but through my very own
personal history. It is all based on my heart condition. If I start to do
something by rote and because I think I have to, then dead formalistic
ritualistic liturgy has set in, and I am as though dead. Not dead to self, but
dead in the expression of the life that is in me.

This is why I am opposed to any kind of formalism and ritual when we come
together. This is why I resist liturgy.

I want people to experience life, not forms and ritual. People want structure
because everywhere in life they find structure that channels and controls
events and people. And they think that it is good. Well, when a family
gathers together, structure is always secondary to life expression. We may plan
or attempt to direct things in family life, but we must eventually adapt to the
flow of life as it happens, and usually it works out better than if we had
controlled it!

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 16:57:00 +0100
From:
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Sexual Abuse and the Church?

David some time ago I invited you to come here to Spain to recuperate. You knew
then that I was a Psychologist but didn't know that my speciality is child
abuse. about which I have several published papers, and am quite well known in
my field. If i can help I once again offer a place in the refuge. You can
e.mail me of list if you like as I think you have all of my details.

There is healing, Blessings,
Keith


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #61

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