New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Friday, May 10 2002 Vol 02 : 083
[NTCP] RE: Prophecy
[NTCP] Thinking globally
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
[NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?
RE: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?
[NTCP] When to baptize?
Re: [NTCP] When to baptize?
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
[NTCP] Re: house church Conference in June?
RE: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?
Re: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?

Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 14:50:39 +0000
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: [NTCP] RE: Prophecy

Dear list,

I wanted to share a little encounter I had yesterday with a prophet.

I dont know if any of you guys know him, his name is Len Carter, I think he is
from Canada.

Anyway, he came to Church and did some one on one sessions yesterday morning.
he was amazingly accurate with my wife and myself. he gave a lot of personal
confirmation about my own specific gifting. He also told us about the House
Church ministry (he had no idea what we were into) and gave us quite a lot of
clarification about how the work is going to progress.

He said that God has already sent us a flock, although small in numbers, it was
his doing. he cautioned us against concerning ourselves too much with making
this become a big movement. he said that it is something that God is doing, all
we have to do is listen to the spirit day by day and go where he leads. He said
to remain focused on Him and he will do that work. he will send people by the
twos and the threes, like the ark ( which is what has been happening). Some
will stay, some will come for a season and then go. He also said it will be non
denominational (which is how I am).

he also said not be concerned about money or income, God will also take care of
that on a day to day basis, what he is looking for from us is faith so He can
be glorified and when we counsel others we will be able to counsel from our own
experience.

He also spoke to one of our brothers about a children ministry that may be
connected to the House church ministry ( this brother is very excellent with
kids, he is school-teacher, a good one). he described the children ministry,
where he saw it. He also cautioned us about wolves who will try to enter as
sheep, and described what he saw in the vision which was namely a man dressed
in priestly garments like a Catholic Priest. I believe I know what this
represents. he estimated the children ministry to grow to around 200 or 300 and
saw it housed in a large bldg. which God will provide.

We all felt very strenghtened and encouraged after the prophetic ministry. This
man was a total stranger to us so we know it is God, I dont think he is into
house church either. This proves that God will speak through the house church
or the institutional church , it doesnt matter, as long as He finds a yeilded
vessel.

I hope some others on the list might be encouraged by this prophetic word as
well too.

David Jaggernauth
Trinidad

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Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 13:18:29 -0400
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP]
Thinking globally

Hi all,

An Indian, a Muslim, and a Texan were recently conversing in a tavern.

"My people were once many but now they are few," sighed the native American.

"My people were once few - now they are many." proclaimed the Muslim.

"Well, that's just because we have yet to play Cowboys and Muslims," replied
the Texan.

:-P

OK, seriously, let's think of the changing demo's in the USA and our
increasingly diverse cultural landscape. Btw, did you happen to see that
article in last week's US News and World Report entitled "A Hindu in the Bible
Belt"?

The same immigration trends are occurring in Western Europe. Needless to say,
not everyone is happy...

Did you, fellow house church-talker & ntcp-er, realize that there are now more
Muslims in the USA than Presbyterians? More Hindus than Jews? More
opportunities than ever to befriend non-whites and to share Jesus?

The ethnic situation which the first Christians faced was very real and, like
ours, very emotionally charged - yet the Lord triumphed in many localities
across the Roman Empire.

Humanly speaking, some of the success was attributable to the hospitality of
these believers and their friendly house church meetings.

The cross of Jesus Christ - what a place for all nationalities to meet! Jew and
Gentile!

David Anderson

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Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 16:16:24 EDT
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Dear Michael M. and crew,

OK, you've pulled me out of the bleachers. That's hard to do. It takes a
hefty red flag. So here goes:

1. If the new convert can think fairly clearly, I can explain the
ramifications of baptism in about five minutes. Five and a half minutes in a
country with persecution. If there are questions, fears, or misunderstandings,
make that ten or fifteen minutes. Only in cases of messed-up backgrounds would
I take more than half an hour. (And converts who are that messed up would
probably be from a church or Jewish background, NOT a pagan background, I
suspect.)

2. If there is a persecution problem or family problem, they deserve a few
days or even weeks to think it through. But that's a whole different issue
from the two or three years it took in the late second century and onward.
(Or, as Beresford Job has so colorfully noted, if you were single, it could
take decades--after 200 or so--before the bishop would assent to letting you be
baptized ... and thus saved.)

3. George Patterson and others have extensively field-tested the whole issue
of rapid baptism and communion vs. delaying same. They found, resoundingly,
that their former regular dropout rate of 95% on the mission field (note: a
more pagan environment) plummeted to 0% when they shifted to rapid baptism and
communion, getting new converts involved as family just after their decision.

4. The idea that needing a lot more explanation is correlated directly to the
"distance" from Jerusalem doesn't even hold in Scripture. From what I know
about prison officials as a former staffer at Prison Fellowship, I doubt the
Philippian jailer, for instance, had much Jewish training. But Acts 16:33 says
that he took Paul and Silas THAT SAME HOUR and cleansed their wounds and was
baptized, he and his family STRAIGHTWAY. If there was ever a chaotic situation
that demanded a cooling-off period, that was it. Why didn't Paul tell them to
wait until they'd finished their confirmation classes, Michael?

5. As someone recently pointed out, the concept of getting yourself cleaned up
and ready for baptism is about 180 degrees off from the concept of just-as-I-am
grace.

6. Michael, you build your case from an absolutely correct, undebatable
premise: "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." Then you make
a bit of a jump into metaphor: "Baptism requires Jewish 'eyes' to be fully
understood." Then you seem to wind up vaguely in favor of an open-ended
probationary period for those whose eyes aren't sufficiently Jewish yet.

7. In fact, you wind up in the same position as the ecclesiastically
heretical, second-century church, with their delayed baptisms. Rather than
sticking with the NT custom of heading for the nearest
bathtub/puddle/jacuzzi/whatever, they divided the church into priests and
laity, and the priests quickly began to proclaim a power grab--the first power
grabbed being the sole authority to baptize. In possibly the same year that
John wrote down the Revelation, Clement of Rome declared that "The layman is
bound by the ordinances of the laity." Then about 20 years later, Ignatius
claimed that "...it is not permitted to baptize or hold a love-feast
independently of the bishop. But whatever he approves, that is well-pleasing
to God." Oi vey.

8. By the cute technique of attaching a bad idea to the coattails of a good
one, you say: " 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." This shift from "a brief period of time" to the
3 years in limbo mandated by the post-150 priesthood is quite a jump. Even if
you're just talking about a delay of two weeks, George Patterson et al. have
found that delay is deadly.

Over to you, brother Michael. Somehow I sense that you'll have a comment on
all this.

Cordially,

Jim Rutz
Colorado Springs

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Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 18:12:50 -0500
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Saludos from Ecuador!

One of the biggest issues we deal with in our planting of house churches
(amongst lost people) is that of baptism. For us here the issue isn't so much
as to "immediate baptism" but whether or not a person has to be legally married
to the woman/man they are living with when they decide to follow Christ.

So many of the new converts are coming out of relationships which are really
messed up. When they convert the last thing they want to do is "throw out" the
partner they have been living with. In many cases the people have been living
together for years and have children, but never have married. Usually the
"saved" partner will want to make the relationship right by marrying, but the
other "unsaved" partner usually objects saying that things have gone well
without the legality of the marriage, why change now?

The traditional churches in our midst say the person must "straighten out their
relationships" FIRST before being baptized. If they don't, then it is a poor
testimony to the Evangelical community. How can a person be baptized when they
are still living in sin? If they were truly saved they would leave the
relationship that has been causing them to sin--or so goes the thinking.

As church planters, we really struggle with this issue and it comes up nearly
every week in one or another of the house churches we are relating to.

In short, do you baptize people who get saved but are living in an immoral
relationship? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Guy Muse
Guayaquil, ECUADOR

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Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 16:20:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

I would think this is very easily solved: were any of the apostles or anyone in
the Bible EVER legally married as it is defined today? The Bible defines
marriage as what happens after you enter the woman's room (or bring her into
yours) and 'lie with her.' According to the Bible, living together IS
MARRIAGE!! NO ONE else has the right to define marriage in a different way. In
fact, quakers marry simply by telling each other that they will be forever
together. And here in Venezuela, after 2 people have lived together 7 years,
they ARE leaglly married!! I bet Ecuador, another Bolivarian nation, also has a
similar law. I find it disgusting that anyone would try to decide things
differently from what Jesus would have done. He certainly would not have
worried about such superficial things! Your believers are right: who cares
anyways? I doubt that Jesus reads civil records of marriages. I'm sure, rather,
that He sees those who have lived together for years, even months, as married.

Vanessa "J. Guy Muse" wrote: Saludos from Ecuador!

One of the biggest issues we deal with in our planting of house churches
(amongst lost people) is that of baptism. For us here the issue isn't so much
as to "immediate baptism" but whether or not a person has to be legally married
to the woman/man they are living with when they decide to follow Christ.

So many of the new converts are coming out of relationships which are really
messed up. When they convert the last thing they want to do is "throw out" the
partner they have been living with. In many cases the people have been living
together for years and have children, but never have married. Usually the
"saved" partner will want to make the relationship right by marrying, but the
other "unsaved" partner usually objects saying that things have gone well
without the legality of the marriage, why change now?

The traditional churches in our midst say the person must "straighten out their
relationships" FIRST before being baptized. If they don't, then it is a poor
testimony to the Evangelical community. How can a person be baptized when they
are still living in sin? If they were truly saved they would leave the
relationship that has been causing them to sin--or so goes the thinking.

As church planters, we really struggle with this issue and it comes up nearly
every week in one or another of the house churches we are relating to.

In short, do you baptize people who get saved but are living in an immoral
relationship? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Guy Muse
Guayaquil, ECUADOR

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions.org/planting ~ ~ ~

Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 16:53:45 -0700
From: Dan Snyder
Subject: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?

Dear Guy,

I think the answer may depend on our view of baptism.

In reality baptism is a part of salvation.

The picture with the children of Israel is too clear. The blood saved them from
God's judgement on a sinful world. The Red Sea (baptism) saved them from being
enslaved by that world.

Passing through the Red Sea broke the world's hold on them so they could carry
out God's economy. After the Red Sea experience they could finally walk in
newness of life - for His sake.

That's the point in Rom. 6:4. Baptism releases us... and begins the walk (i.e..
the practical living of the new life we received when we believed in the Lord
Jesus).

We get the cart before the horse if we expect someone to improve as a
prerequisite to baptizing them.

Just as we helped them apply the blood of the Lamb... we need to help them pass
through the Red Sea. The sooner the better.

Dan

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 07:25:45 +0200
From: "Keith Smith"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Hi Guy, Saludos del continente viejo.

We face the very same problems with South American immigrants here in Spain. A
lot have come in the past year and a half, and except for the Argentineans,
their relationships are generally a mess. I the churches I serve about 40% are
now from south America. I have to say, based not only on the Word of God, but
also on my experience, I'd still dunk'em quick. The "bad testimony" argument,
only holds true for old world legalists. I've looked, there are just as many
sin problems in their churches, their just better hidden, I call that
hypocrisy.

Let me tell you two stories, (the names are changed to protect the redeemed).
Jorge, arrived here about a year and a half ago. His church leader wanted to
wait before baptizing him, because of relationship problems (effectively two
wives). He was lovingly told that he needed to straighten his life out and be a
good witness. The result was, that he tried to bury the sin, in doing so he got
involved with drugs and prostitution (These nice guys from Columbia just wanted
to help him.....) Not only was there no change, things got worse. I was called
in to help call this wandering sheep to order, it's a real mess. The other
story is of Enrique, who came in a very similar way, with similar problems
about a year ago. I didn't wait, he was saved and dunked at the same time.
Since then the grace of the Lord is daily seen in this man's life. Although
poor, and working for minimum wage, He has made provision for one of the women
in a way that she is happy with, and is in the process of bringing the other
one here. His witness in his work place has bought three others to the Lord.
These are just two stories of the many I could tell from here.

I don't want to get sidetracked into an argument on sacramentalism, but could
it just be that God does impart some grace at baptism?..............

Blessings, Keith

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 05:12:47 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Keith Smith wrote:

>I don't want to get sidetracked into an argument on sacramentalism, but could
>it just be that God does impart some grace at baptism?..............
>
>Blessings, Keith
>
Dear Keith,

Could that grace be connected with "the pledge of a good conscience toward
God"?

Yours in Christ,

Jay

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 07:54:16 -0400
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?

Thanks everyone for the comments on my question. Guy's question really relates
to the case I just mentioned in the original post. This young man and young
women had been living together off and on for several years. I doubt anyone
would consider them even a "common law" couple, for the circumstances were more
for convenience purposes (sex, wellfare benefits, co-dependancy etc.)

Both of them wanted to be baptized, and one of the older brothers spent
considerable time with them explaining the meaning and significance, and the
changes that the Lord wanted to bring about in their life styles.

No change whatsover followed.

The brother that previously counseled them has been to visit them several time
since. They seem perfectly content with the same lifestyle as before, with no
desire to gather with believers or to receive the milk of the Word.

Jim, a delay of several years never crossed my mind. But I am looking at the
Scriptures and finding nothing similar to this experience depicted there. Now I
suppose we could say that we fullfilled our responsibility. But Jesus demanded
a total commitment from His disciples, and commanded them to in turn make
disciples of all nations.

Very different from what is happening with the easy believism of our day.

Jim, Help me out here. How did immediate water baptism reduce the dropout rate
from 95% to 0%? We have always believed in immediate baptism, and have never
seen statistics like these.

Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 08:02:35 -0500
From: "Dan Hubbell"
Subject: [NTCP] When to baptize?

Dear Dan,

It is always good to hear from you my brother even via NTCP. I am looking
forward to seeing you again at the house church Conference in SC in June!

Your question about baptism is a good one. I too have been grieved and
disappointed in people who have seemingly made decisions for Christ and
followed Him in baptism and then just "disappeared" from the scene.

There are a lot of things involved here but time does not allow us to address
all the issues; however, I discern the major problem is that we fail to
understand that Jesus called us to "make disciples" and not "Christians". It
should be the same but often it is not. We are so eager in our effort to have
the lost "raise a hand," "say a prayer," "sign a card," etc. that we often fail
to allow for the work of the Holy Spirit in "convicting of sin, righteousness
and the judgment to come." For no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws
him.

We often are so anxious for the lost to respond that we fail to stress to them
the cost of discipleship before they make their commitment to Christ. As you
know, Jesus often spoke of counting the cost by saying, "Take up your cross and
follow me;" "Eat my flesh and drink my blood;" "Hate father and mother;" "Don't
look back when you plow;" etc. According to Scripture there were many who were
called "disciples" who turned back from following Jesus because His sayings
were too hard. You recall how Jesus then turned and questioned to those
remaining by saying, "Will you also go away?" Our response should be the same
as theirs, "Lord, to whom shall we go for thou hast the words of eternal life."
If Jesus has the words of eternal life, and of course He does, then we should
obey Him and His Word as explicitly as we can.

That brings us back to your important question, "When should we baptize?"
Jesus gave us the sequence to follow in Matthew 28:18-20 when He clearly,
commanded, "1)Make disciples, 2) baptize them and 3) teach them..." The
disciples in Acts obeyed His command explicitly: 1) Acts 2:41 "They received
his word and were baptized;" 2) Acts 8:12 "Philip preaching the things
concerning the kingdom of God, and in the name of Jesus Christ, they were
baptized;" 3)Acts 8:13 "Simon believed and was baptized;" 4) Acts 8:36-37
"Philip preached Jesus unto the Eunuch and he believed and was baptized;" Other
references include such passages as Acts 10:47-48 "Peter commanded them to be
baptized;" Acts 16:14-15 "Lydia opened her heart to the Lord and was baptized;"
Acts 16:31-33 "Jailer heard the word of the Lord and the same hour of the night
was baptized;" Acts 18:8 "Crispus, hearing believed, and was baptized;" Acts
19:5 "Twelve Ephesians disciples heard the Paul's word and were baptized." The
only passage that speaks of any delay in baptism was Paul's experience of
waiting three days without sight, food or drink as recorded in Acts 9:9, 18
"Forthwith arose and was baptized."

Are there those who make professions of faith and are baptized today who do not
follow through on their commitment? Of course there are. Were there those in
the New Testament record who made professions and were baptized and did not
seem to follow through on their commitment? Of course there were as
illustrated in the experiences of Judas, Ananias, Sapphira, Simon the sorcer,
false prophets, the false apostles, the hireling shepherds, etc.

My discernment for what it is worth is that we should obey the Lord and baptize
the way He commanded and trust Him as to what happens in the lives of those who
don't seem to follow through on their commitment. It is our responsibility to
obey His Word and as it is His to judge the motive of the heart. That places
the "burden" of frustration off of us and places it where it belongs, "upon
Him."

Dan, these are just some thoughts from one who is still on the journey and
learning every day from Him and yet realizing how little I know and how much I
have to learn of Him and from Him.

Love in Jesus,

Dan Hubbell
His servant From "a hired house" in Winnsboro, Texas USA
http://www.churchrestoration.org

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 09:48:17 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] When to baptize?

Dan Hubbell wrote:

>Dear Dan,
>
>It is always good to hear from you my brother even via NTCP. I am looking
>forward to seeing you again at the house church Conference in SC in June!
>
Dear Dan,

When and where is the house church conference going to be this year. Perhaps I
can make it.

Yours in Christ,

Jay

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 08:59:28 -0500
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

On 9 May 2002 at 16:16, JAMESRUTZ wrote:

>George Patterson and others have extensively field-tested the whole issue of
>rapid baptism and communion vs. delaying same. They found, resoundingly, that
>their former regular dropout rate of 95% on the mission field (note: a more
>pagan environment) plummeted to 0% when they shifted to rapid baptism and
>communion, getting new converts involved as family just after their decision.

Jim, I would be interested in reading more about the above statistic. Who is
George Patterson? What is the source of this information? How can I get hold of
this study? Very interesting!

Guy Muse Guayaquil, ECUADOR

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 09:17:33 -0500
From: "Dan Hubbell"
Subject: [NTCP] Re: house church Conference in June?

Jay, the conference is June 14-16 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central,
SC. You can log onto http://www.ntrf.org and get all the details. I hope you
can attend, Jay, for I would like to have fellowship with you there. It's good
to hear from you, brother!

Dan

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 07:31:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

I'm wondering, if there is a way to solve this 2 women thing without hurting
someone very badly? How does a man choose? (of course, the answer might be
don't get into that situation, but when you have already...)

I am the kind of woman that would not mind my husband having several women, and
can actually see many advantages in it, but I am sure that God forbid that as a
punishment for men who couldn't handle the 200 women they took... And my
husband is absolutely monogamous since we've been together, and says its ironic
he wants to be monogamous only with the first woman who wouldn't mind...
although I do tell him he'll be greatly blessed for obeying God. And men need
to understand that its not their wife they are serving by being monogamous, but
God. This would help many of them.

But I still wonder exactly WHY God forbid having more than one at a time? It
must be a punishment, for it is certainly not natural? but Adam had only one
woman, so maybe the 'natural' part means the devil-imposed part?

Vanessa

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 07:34:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Immediate baptism?

- --- Dan Beaty wrote:
>Thanks everyone for the comments on my question. Guy's question really relates
>to the case I just mentioned in the original post. This young man and young
>women had been living together off and on for several years. I doubt anyone
>would consider them even a "common law" couple, for the circumstances were
>more for convenience purposes (sex, wellfare benefits, co-dependancy etc.)

Aren't most legal marriages for the same purposes?

vanessa

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Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 10:42:13 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re:
Immediate baptism?

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

>Aren't most legal marriages for the same purposes?
>
>vanessa
>
Dear Vanessa, I think you have put a whole new spin on, "speaking the truth in
love".

Yours in Christ,

Jay


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #83

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