New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, May 9 2002 Vol 02 : 082
[NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Excommunicating a brother
[NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?
[NTCP] Excommunicating a brother
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
RE: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
RE: [NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?
Re: [NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?
[NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 21:37:21 -0400
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Hello everyone,

At a House Church conference some years ago, a brother from England was showing
how the churches gradually departed from the apostolic patterns. He showed how
in the book of Acts, that converts were immediately baptised, where in later
years they were made to wait until they had weeks of training.

My background has been to get 'em to the "alter" and in the water as soon as
they were willing.

But recent experiences have me speculating as to why the second century
churches waited. A number of people approached our house church before and
around the time of the 911 disaster, wanting to be baptised in water. The same
number are no longer with us. One couple in particular went immediately back to
their old life styles the very next few days after their baptism!

Have you ever felt like you were being used in a way? I feel like these folks
wanted a sort of insurance policy, "just in case" it was needed. That is not
the principle I see in the NT.

There were emotional responses, to be sure, but I believe that they were
expected to have a basic understanding of the will of God for their lives, as
well as the faith to follow through with His will.

While I do not want to diminish the urgent need for the individual to obey the
Lord in water baptism, I am thinking that the church has a greater
responsibility to "teach all nations," "baptizing them.." Only the Holy Spirit
can regenerate a heart, but it would seem that some time would be required to
determine actually how far the person has been brought by Him.

By rushing in at the first sign of a person's remorseful heart, I wonder if we
might even short circut the process. Some of these folks felt immediate
satisfaction, without feeling the need for more instruction and discipling. The
result feels like a spiritual abortion.

Is the Lord teaching us something here? Any comments?

Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com

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Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 21:43:06 -0400
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Excommunicating a brother

I've been thinking about the brother and your desire to help him, and it
occurred to me that discipline is perhaps the wrong word for what is needed
here. In cases like this I'm reminded of Galatians 6:1-10:

1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore
such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be
tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have
rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his
own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that
teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his
flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well
doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have
therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who
are of the household of faith.

The NASV says &quot;even if a man is caught in any trespass&quot;. This
indicates to me that he might be caught as in a trap, or as in &quot;red
handed&quot;. The KJ overtaken can also be construed either way.

In a fault or in any trespass means whatever sin, great or small.

Ye who are spiritual. In order to help a brother in need, I must first be fit
enough to be of help...can I be a life guard if I can't swim...or I will just
aggravate the situation.

So then, the goal for the sinning brother is restoration, not discipline,
administered in a spirit of meekness, knowing that the same sin might just as
easily overcome me. This condition is not unique to the brother, but to all
men. If this ministry is approached in an unspiritual manner, then I too may be
overcome by the same temptation.

I can not help a sinning brother unless I am willing to take on that sin as
though it were mine. I must assume joint responsibility for it with my fallen
brother, just as Christ did for me, or I miss the law of Christ.

By remaining aloof with my brother I put myself above him, thinking myself to
be something more than I am. What sin is there that is not common to all men?
Am I not most wretched?

If by the grace of God I can remain strong and be strength for my brother, then
I will have reason to rejoice in what God has done.

I will have my own burden to carry, and will cry out for relief. Who will hear
me if I withhold help from my brother in need?

I will sow what I reap, whether discipline or restoration.

How I handle my brother will be added to me; to my spirit for eternal life or
my flesh for eternal corruption.

The easy thing is to strike a blow for &quot;righteousness&quot; but I am
called to crucify the flesh and not grow weary of doing good, especially to my
brothers in the faith.

Dick
Phil.3:12-14

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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 13:26:49 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?

David J. wrote:

>We did however notice several problems that this Church faces. One was the
>issue of pastor worship. Because of the powerful way God uses this man in
>miracles and wonders the people have been relying on him continually.

I'd like to get a handle on what people think constitues "pastor worship". I
mean, are we guilty if we give a special gift or favor to the man/men in
servant-leadership in our church? Or if we obey him/them ... even if we don't
want to? When do we cross the line? And why?

Michael
Jerusalem

P.S. Thanks David J. for your short piece about Israel. I appreciated it
greatly!

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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 13:27:26 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Excommunicating a brother

Link wrote:

>I'd like to ask for advice and comments on an important issue.

Well, you know the steps. And you know the conditions. But I agree with
Brittian and Keith that this erring brother needs to be re-affirmed in love
before actually taking him through church discipline. Hopefully it won't come
to that. Aaron would be a good one to advise you on the whole process. But
this brings up a question which takes this issue uncomfortably close to home.
I am 42. Been walking with the Lord since 1978. And I *still* struggle with
pornography. Remember Link, when you, Alan, and I used to pray together about
this issue when I ministered at the "Sally". Periods of victory, periods of
defeat. Then my family moved here to minister. Last year my wife hooked our
home computer online. Up until then we just had used her work computer to
receive and send email-- it was a financial matter. Trying to save pennies.
But it wasn't a week with this hook-up before I had pulled up my first
pornographic images. I then promised the Lord that the next time I "fell"
(interpret that as "chose to sin") I would tell my wife. She's had to hear my
confessions on this weakness before. I think I held out two more days before I
"return[ed] to [my] vomit" (Pro. 26:11). So I confessed to my wife and to some
brothers ... and I went back to my old set-up of composing emails, etc. at
home, then saving them on disk, while maintaining Deborah's work computer as
our only online connection. That's the reason I often seem a day behind in
some of our discussions. I am.

My point? Yes I repented (which, by the way Brittian, entails both turning
*from* something/someone AND turning *to* God through Christ), but I fear that
if I were put in a room with a porno mag or two, with no *human* eyes watching,
I would almost certainly harden my heart to God's grace and take me a gander.
And more. So, in my case how do we handle church discipline? To whom much is
given, much is required, right? And I guess in some circles I would be
considered a "leader". I nevertheless fall daily in "little" ways.

This man you (Link) wrote about was candid about his sin, ... as I have been.
But he didn't act on his "promise" to get rid of the magazine. Is that the
clincher? Action? How do we quantify this sin of unbridled lust? I admit, I
don't have it contained, although there is no pornography in my house. I carry
it in my heart. Can I be censored for that? If so how? It really becomes a
matter of degree, doesn't it? And concrete action ... I think.

What do you all think about my comments in relation to sin and church
discipline? Any insight? Michael
Jerusalem ~ ~ ~ ntcp info page:
http://world-missions.org/planting ~ ~ ~

Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 07:36:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

>My background has been to get 'em to the "alter" and in the water as soon as
>they were willing.
>

WHy don't quakers even consider baptism necessary?

Vanessa

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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 20:10:35 +0200
From: "Keith Smith"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Dear Dan, perhaps it's being British but I still agree with Beresford. Dunkem
quick. Whilst some will abuse the system for superstitious ends they were not
of us from the beginning. If we wait I think other problems arise. Blessings,
Keith

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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 20:19:54 +0200
From: "Keith Smith"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?

Michael, I'll answer this one if I may. Years ago, I planted a church in North
London. During the process the Lord graciously used me to perform several
unusual miracles, which attracted a lot of media interest and folk to the
church. However less that eight months later the Lord very clearly told me to
move on. Because the people would not have faith for themselves they were
relying on my faith (which is very fallible) I class this as pastor worship.
Interestingly I still avoid that church, because every now and then stories
come back to me of this great man of God, who planted the church. I can't
imagine who this person is, but I don't want part of it. Blessings Keith

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Date: Wed, 08 May 2002 20:44:18 +0000
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: What mean ye by "pastor worship"?

Dear Michael,

I have come out of a situation where this practice was very entrenched so I
think I can explain what I see it as.

Whenever a people are starting to look to a man instead of Jesus as their
source that is pastor worship. it may be the result of a gift or the result of
indoctrination that creates this environment.

The old church I came out of taught doctrines that glorified and elevated the
pastor. The present church I'm in right now, they dont teach it but because of
the gifting upon the man and the lack of balanced teaching, the people have
fallen into it.

I remember an incident that happened to me several years ago. A woman whom I
had known came to church one morning and came directly to me in tears (i was an
usher back then). She said she was in trouble and needed my help. I took her
outside the church and asked one of the female ushers to join me. As I began
talking to her she revealed that she was contemplating committing suicide on
the way to church as well as the day before.

While talking to her she confessed that she had been deep into witchcraft
previously (in another "church") and was a seer woman. She described many of
the things that she used to practice , including out of the body travelling,
reading the bible without opening it people would come to her to get help
recovering stolen or lost things ( she would see where it was). She had also
baptised hundreds of people in that Church, leading them to that Church. It was
only when she had come to our church she realised what she was doing was
witchcraft. She had become bound in pain for about 10 years, having to quit her
job because of it, she had a sore on her leg that oozed pus constantly for
about 10 years. She was in bad shape, physically, mentally and emotionally.

After listening to her story in bewilderment (I had known her for some time but
never knew any of this) I could think of nothing else to do but pray for her.
When I laid hands on her and started praying she fell down and demons started
coming out of her( she later said she saw a bright light go off in her head). I
didnt even tell them to come out. They just did. She began a process of
deliverance that went on for about 2 months or more eventually being healed of
her disease as well ( at the hands of other ministers as well).

I frequently visited her and ministered to her on a regular basis, counselling
and praying, the lord had put a compassion in my heart for her. One day as I
was leaving her house she looked at me and said, "David, I just wanted to tell
you something, as far as I am concerned next to Jesus is you" - - ( local slang
meaning she considers Jesus and myself at the same level)

Her past life had been filled with betrayals at the hands of men, from a
teenager she had always been looking to men as her source of comfort, always
trusting them and relying on them, and always being betrayed by them.

I was astounded by what she said, especially after i had spent all that time
counselling her against trusting in men as her source. Any way, I stopped
counselling her and sent someone else to visit her.

This was turning out to be a form of worship and her eyes were looking to me as
her deliverer.

The church I am currently fellowshipping with has people who arent taught and
their natural tendency is to gravitate towards exalting the pastor and relying
on him for everything. I dont know how long he can keep it up but the people
rely on him for every form of ministry, and they frequently pay him so much
adulation that I sometimes squirm in my seat. its always about what he has
done, they forget Jesus had a big part to play in it. To Link:

Re: "What is the difference between a discipline that needs to be practiced to
get close to God and 'religion?'

Why is 'religion' a bad word? Aren't we all supposed to have 'pure religion?'

your question about religion. When the bible talks about pure religion I think
it refers to a condition of the heart. Looking after the widows and fatherless
I believe refers to a heart condition. Not dos and donts.

The discpline I am talking about to fellowship with god has to do with "beating
your body into submission"

Any kind of relationship is a sacrifice, when I met my wife I discovered she
was a bit demanding when it came to relationship. She needed my undivided
attention which meant I had to make many sacrifices to pursue our relationship.
Our relationship didnt happen automatically.

It is the same with God, God demands our attention. If youre not in the place
where you are willing to sacrifice your personal, time , pleasures, lifestyle
etc. to draw closer to God, then youre in a dangerous place. If God can find a
man who is willing to turn over evrything single aspect of his being to Him, I
believe there is nothing that God would not be able to do through that man.

You beat your body into submission when you come home from work, you're dead
tired but yet you enter your closet and get on your knees to pray until the
Lord releases you. You beat your body into submission when youre awakened at 3
in the morning by the Lord to pray and you respond, you beat your body when
youre in the middle of your favourite TV program or movie and the Lord asks you
to spend time with him or when he says to fast the next day and no matter what
your plans were, you do it. This isnt religion, its seeking after God
diligently with all your heart. It is the way to partake in the divine nature
of Christ. It is a form of delightful suffering. because it is delightful.

I have found that looseness enters into my Christianity when I do not walk in
this way or least try with all my heart to seek after God like this. Jesus will
give us power over our sinful nature only if we seek him out so diligently so
we can tap into his divine nature and be partakers of it.

As you begin to walk in higher and higher levels of obedience to the spirit,
your carnal nature will begin to decline in strenght. God can take us into a
place where you literally despise sin and anything that resembles it. When you
spend a lot of time in God's holy presence, you will begin to take on His
holiness.

One other thing about religion, tithing has become a popular religious practice
in the Church. I believe however that the tithe in the old testament pointed to
a condition of the heart as well, because the purpose of the tithe was to look
after the widows and fatherless (Dt. 26:12) the same as pure religion in James
1:27, in other words the tithe also pointed to the Christ Life.

Religion as practiced by the Church today sometimes have very little to do with
Jesus, and partaking in the divine nature. I guess I am making a distinction
between religion as practiced by the Church and religion as referred to in
James 1:27.

David Jaggernauth

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Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 09:21:32 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Immediate
baptism?

Dan Beaty wrote:

>At a House Church conference some years ago, a brother from England was
>showing how the churches gradually departed from the apostolic patterns. He
>showed how in the book of Acts, that converts were immediately baptised, where
>in later years they were made to wait until they had weeks of training ....
>But recent experiences have me speculating as to why the second century
>churches waited .... Is the Lord teaching us something here? Any comments?

You will not meet a more staunch advocate of following "apostolic patterns"
than me (see my Apr. 19 post) ... until it becomes clear that there is a
*legitimate* reason to depart from them. And there was. As the gospel
advanced, it moved away from areas where synagogues had been established for
centuries. The earliest missionaries targeted areas with large Jewish
populations. They drew their gentile converts primarily from the god-fearers
of the synagogues-- i.e., a technical term for those who were basically in
apprenticeship toward conversion to Judaism (Feldman, Louis H. "The
Omnipresence of the God-fearers." BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW 12/5:58-63). In
other words, and a fact we need to come to grips with, they were biblically
literate. Quite. They knew what the Torah meant by "clean" and "unclean," and
how baptism factored into the equation. Baptism requires Jewish "eyes" to be
fully understood.

By the second century the gospel was penetrating areas which had never had
"pre-evangelism" by the Jews. Those who became candidates for baptism ( for
conversion) had to be instructed in the rudiments of what that water (coupled
with faith in Christ) meant ... and effected. It took time to learn, coming
from a foreign world view. And therefore, when we lead someone to Christ these
days, I'm of the opinion that it behooves us to put off his/her baptism (
conversion) if he/she does not have sufficient background as to its biblical
meaning. He/she does not need perfect knowledge, just that by the rite of
baptism he/she is entering the new covenant and having his/her sins remitted--
an act of repentence and union with Christ in his death, burial, and
resurrection. Most folks don't have the background to understand this so we
need to explain it over a brief period of time prior to baptism. Just as the
Ante-Nicene church had to do.

Michael
Jerusalem


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