New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Friday, May 24 2002 Vol 02 : 091
Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church
Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies
Re: [NTCP] Dealing with Rusty Denominational Structures
Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies
[NTCP] church planter Books
Re: [NTCP] Lord's Supper and Worship
[NTCP] Re: Gnostic tendencies
Re: [NTCP] church planter Books
Re: [NTCP] Re: Gnostic tendencies
Re: [NTCP] church planter Books
Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church
Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church

Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 22:05:53 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church

Link H wrote:

>The one example I can think of from the NT of congregational singing is the
>verse that says that after the Last Supper, they sang a hymn. I don't know if
>this hymn was sung 'congregationally' or antiphonally, but I would imagine
>they sang together. The other references to singing in meetings that I can
>think of seem to allow for the possibility of one person singing to the whole
>congregation.
>
>Any comments?

Dear Link,

My understanding is that it was traditional going into the Passover to sing
three psalms identified as The Great Haleel. Perhaps Michael can help us out
here. not only with the veracity of the understanding, but also with the
spelling. And that the last one was/is the 118th: 24:" This is the day which
the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

As far as I know that was the last song that Jesus sang while still in the
flesh, unless you include His introduction to the 22nd.

It surely was a day to remember, "..... do this in remembrance of me."

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 09:51:37 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies


Michael,
>I've said it before and I'll say it again: spontaneous does not equal
>spiritual. This is a fallacy of thinking that keeps popping up with more than
>a few on this list. I agree wholeheartedly that the Spirit should be leading
>believers while they are in corporate worship ... among other arenas. But
>that leading is not hampered by having a song leader, monobishop (...
>everybody wince), or liturgy.

Thought this a VERY interesting post! Several years ago I read Harold Bloom's
"The American Religion." His thesis was while most believed Christianity is the
"American religion" it really is Gnosticism. He took Southern Baptists,
Pentecostal, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses as examples to prove his point.

Bloom defined Gnostic tendencies as trying to have an unmediated "face to face"
encounter with "the naked God (Luther's language), i.e., unmediated by a person
or by Scripture, a persons spirit in direct contact with God. That "Spirit"
equals freedom while "Flesh" equals structure and imprisonment. He used the
Baptists idea of "the inner light," the Pentecostal's preference for the
ecstatic, the Mormon's "burning in the bosom," and I forget what he used as the
JW example, to prove his point. What he was saying is not that modern
Christians like the Baptists and Pentecostals practice 1st - 4th Century
Gnosticism, but that American culture, thru the Romantics and the 2nd Great
awakening, redefined Christianity.

I have found in my travels, that more often than not, Bloom has hit the nail
right on the head. And he ought to know -- he himself is a practicing Gnostic.
I have found this trend especially strong in what I call "Woodstock
Christianity," in the Baby Boomers.

Great post, Michael!

TC


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


Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 07:34:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Dealing with Rusty Denominational Structures

Proven man of God? I just finished testifying against a 'proven man of God' for
child molestation!!! ONLY God knows who is a proven man of God, and we can sort
of know by seeing their fruit, and many 'Juan Perez' have become the best men
of God. In fact, whoever said that to you sounds to me like the typical
latinamerican snob. I myself have learned more from people in the worst
circumstances than from 'proven men of God.'

I have found that here, there are thousands of people who are sick of the
'proven men of God' who turn around and sin just like any Joe Blow... and this
is what I have found makes people want to come study the Bible with me: that
neither I nor my husband pretend to be 'proven men of God.' But when the
children nearby love us, and even the criminals keep each other from bothering
us, then that speaks for itself.

People here have been for centuries manipulated by the catholic church, and one
of the most important things we must teach them is that rituals are NOT
important, only your heart is.

Vanessa from Venezuela jferris wrote: J. Guy Muse wrote:

>Pastors from our traditional churches have really come down hard on us here in
>Guayaquil for saying these very things. One argument they use is, do you want
>just any "Juan Perez" leading a new church plant to marry your daughter, or do
>you want a recognized, proven man of God to officiate the ceremony?
>
>The same argument goes with baptism and Lord's Supper. In "holy matters" such
>as baptism and Lord's Supper, believers prefer someone to officiate who is
>ordained, recognized, and proven themselves "worthy" to officiate. Even with
>new believers coming out of Catholic culture they feel it "belittles" the
>ordinances by allowing just any "Joe Blow" to officiate. Please help us in
>giving a loving and Biblical answer to our fellow brethren on this matter. We
>deal with this all the time.
>

David Anderson wrote:

I am keenly interested in these questions, too, Guy. My former confidence
concerning the traditional "Lord's Supper" has been all but shattered.

Dear Guy, and David,

In Paul's explanation about the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, he talks
pretty straight and tough to the Corinthians: ".... I have no praise for you
for your meetings do more harm than good." The thing that made their meetings
do more harm than good was dividion among them. The evidence of the division
was their indifference to one another as they ate. As a result, Paul told them
that it was not The Lord's Supper that they were eating but their own.

Was Paul upset that there was drinking going on? No, only that some where
getting drunk. Was he upset that some of them had nothing to eat? Yes, others
were stuffing themselves. That condition was indication enough to Paul that the
Corinthians were clueless about the significance of the Lord's Supper.

His remedy was to command them to examine themselves concerning their ability
to discern the Lord's Body, lest they should go on eating and drinking
judgement upon themselves. This was not a call for a general hearts condition
self examination. it was much more focused than that: "We who are many are one
loaf." Each of has a part in the breaking of that loaf, and having partaken are
once again one body, The Body of Christ.

In this context Paul makes The Lord's Supper our greatest provision for
maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The Lord's Supper needs to be celebrated where, and by those who are in the
greatest need of relational cleansing:

Lo'servatore Romano, St. Basil, approximately 300-400 AD:

"Only the Eucharist, moreover the true memorial of Christ's paschal mystery, is
capable of keeping alive in us the memory of His love. It is the secret of the
vigilance of the church. It would be too easy for her otherwise without the
divine efficacy of this continual and very sweet incentive without the
penetrating power of this look of her Bridegroom fixed on her to fall into
forgetfulness, insensitivity and unfaithfulness. The Lord's Supper was
instituted for this purpose according to the Lord's words, `Do this in
remembrance of me.' and consequently it must be celebrated for this purpose."

Where better than from house to house, under the oversight of household heads
of a new creation.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 07:49:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies

WHat about those of us who don't enjoy singing at all, and who prefer
exclusively Bible studies, and worship through charity, and quiet quaker
worship?

I find that the singing and all that is fine for the children and teens, but
find it inappropriate for adults. I even have my kids taking serious piano
lessons, so that they can help those who don't know the Lord to meet Him in
happiness, but I consider myself too old for all that playing. I'm into the
serious stuff: do the charity, hang out with the street children and tell them
about God, and if they want to sing, let them sing. But for me, only the quiet
quaker meetings have been satisfactory of ALL the kinds of worship I have
known.

Vanessa TheologusCrucis wrote: Michael, I've said it before and
I'll say it again: spontaneous does not equal spiritual. This is a fallacy of
thinking that keeps popping up with more than a few on this list. I agree
wholeheartedly that the Spirit should be leading believers while they are in
corporate worship ... among other arenas. But that leading is not hampered by
having a song leader, monobishop (... everybody wince), or liturgy. It is
hindered by sin.

Thought this a VERY interesting post! Several years ago I read Harold Bloom's
"The American Religion." His thesis was while most believed Christianity is the
"American religion" it really is Gnosticism. He took Southern Baptists,
Pentecostal, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses as examples to prove his point.

Bloom defined Gnostic tendencies as trying to have an unmediated "face to face"
encounter with "the naked God (Luther's language), i.e., unmediated by a person
or by Scripture, a persons spirit in direct contact with God. That "Spirit"
equals freedom while "Flesh" equals structure and imprisonment. He used the
Baptists idea of "the inner light," the Pentecostal's preference for the
ecstatic, the Mormon's "burning in the bosom," and I forget what he used as the
JW example, to prove his point. What he was saying is not that modern
Christians like the Baptists and Pentecostals practice 1st - 4th Century
Gnosticism, but that American culture, thru the Romantics and the 2nd Great
awakening, redefined Christianity.

I have found in my travels, that more often than not, Bloom has hit the nail
right on the head. And he ought to know -- he himself is a practicing Gnostic.
I have found this trend especially strong in what I call "Woodstock
Christianity," in the Baby Boomers.

Great post, Michael!

TC


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 10:17:57 -0500
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: [NTCP] church planter Books

To all NTCPers:

Our family will be going to the U.S.A. for a three-month furlough in July of
this year. One of the "must-do" activities while there is to get our hands on
some good books.

If you could choose just three titles, what three books would you recommend on
the related subjects of church planting, house church, church planting
movements?

Thanks for your input.

Guy Muse Guayaquil, Ecuador jmuse(--AT--)gu.pro.ec


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 10:17:55 -0500
From: "J. Guy Muse"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Lord's Supper and Worship

On 23 May 2002 at 11:21, Samuel Buick wrote:

>...We choose from the vast collection of CD's we have, and then digitally
>record a worship CD compilation for worship, and then for those who do not
>know the lyrics, we make a song sheet. We usually choose up to 8 or 9 songs.

Sam, I take it that the group sings along with these homemade CDs as they are
played on a sound system?

In July 2000 I was in Cuba where they did this same thing with cassettes in a
house church I was visiting. It was a bit awkward in that they would stop and
change cassettes for each song. However, nobody was in a hurry so they would
just chat while the "sound man" set up the next song.

We have tried something similar here, but our problem is that very few of the
100+ house churches we are working with have cassette players (not to mention
CD players!). For those few house churches that have cassette players, they
choose to sing along with a cassette I recorded on our home sound system with
66 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. All of the 66 selections on the
cassette have been printed out in a songbook. We have reproduced both the
cassette and the songbooks. The songbooks and cassette are given out freely as
each house church multiplies. Believe it or not, this has become a high
motivator for starting new churches! They want this songbook so badly they are
willing to go out and start a new church just to get their hands on a few shiny
new songbooks and a poor quality homemade cassette!

Most of the house churches here simply sing a cappella, or if someone plays
guitar they sing along with the guitar. The problem here is that most of the
guitar players only know a few chords and they play the same sequence of chords
for ALL of the songs, regardless of what key the group is singing in!

Guy Muse
Guayaquil, Ecuador


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


Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 09:20:38 -0700
From: Dan Snyder
Subject: [NTCP] Re:
Gnostic tendencies

TC writes:

Brother TC,

I'm sure you mean well, but this sounds like an attempt to cheat God's people
out of having a real and intimate relationship with Him.

That cheats God's people and it cheats God Himself from the union He desires to
have with His redeemed and regenerated people.

The Lord said: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in
spirit..." (John 4:24) . Worship in the Greek means to contact... even to
"kiss".

And Paul said: "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." (1 Cor. 6:17)

And again "But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a
mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18)

It is by God's people contacting Him that His economy is carried out.

So God's enemy takes a defamatory word like "Gnostic" and slaps it on a normal
and necessary Christian practice (i.e. contacting God in a normal, real, and
intimate way) in order to cheat God's people.... and to frustrate God's
economy.

If we lack discernment we may take this lie. "Oh yeah, I shouldn't try to
contact God. I don't want to be accused of being a "Gnostic". I better let
someone else, some mediator, contact God for me."

TC, I hope you wouldn't let the enemy cheat you or those you minister to.

May the Lord guard us all.

Dan "The Lord be with your spirit" (2 Tim. 4:22)


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 14:57:53 EDT
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: Re: [NTCP] church planter Books

Guy,

Whaddya know--I just finished the A-List portion of the bibliography of my next
book yesterday. Here are my Top Twelve in order.

Incidentally, I have met all but one of these authors and can testify that they
are all sterling examples of what a Christian should be.

1. Houses That Change the World, Wolfgang Simson (Waynesboro, GA: OM
Publishing), 2001, 303 pp. A ground-breaking book from a brilliant thinker.
Thorough, readable, and convincing as a tidal wave. Originally posted on the
Web, it was downloaded 10,000 times and photocopied endlessly. This is the hot
book today.

3. The Church Comes Home, Robert & Julia Banks (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson),
1998, 260 pp. Rob Banks and his late wife Julia wrote this with tremendous
authority, but also with great balance and moderation. Much practical help for
church planters.

4. The Way Church Ought to Be / Volume I: Ninety-five Propositions for a
Return to Radical Christianity, Robert A. Lund (Albany, OR: Outside the Box
Press) 2001, 464 big pages. This house church "encyclopedia" will tell you
everything you ever wanted to "know--plus 90% extra.

6. How to Meet in Homes, Gene Edwards (Jacksonville: The SeedSowers), 1999,
135 pp. Often viewed as the voice of the U.S. house church, Gene is also its
biggest critic! He is the ultimate house church purist. His folksy,
in-your-face style is uniquely charming or irritating, depending on how
attached you are to the traditional church system.

7. Toward a House Church Theology, ed. by Steve Atkerson with 12 contributors
(Atlanta: New Testament Restoration Foundation), 1996, 183 pp. Lively
discussions of 32 house-church issues. Lots of information you can't find
elsewhere. Each chapter was originally written as a journal article, and thus
has almost the punchy tone of a debate.

8. House Church Networks: A church for a new generation, Larry Kreider
(Ephrata, PA: House to House Publications), 2001, 118 pp. Larry is the only
person in the world who draws great respect from both traditional and
house-church Christians. In this work, he uses his prestige and wide,
successful experience to show how house churches and tradition-based cell
churches can not only coexist, but complement each other and build each other
up. There is no other book like this.

9. God's Simple Plan for His Church--and Your Place in It: A Manual for House
Churches, Nate Krupp (Woodburn, OR: Solid Rock Books), 1993, 173 pp. An
easy-to-scan overview that touches upon all the main issues connected to what a
house church should be, such as what to do with kids, how to handle
blabbermouths, etc. Plenty of Bible footnotes.

10. The Church in the House: A Return to Simplicity, Robert Fitts (Salem, OR:
Preparing the Way Publishers), 2001, 113 pp. A simple, outline-type book that
beginners can digest in one evening. 11. Radical Renewal: The Problem of
Wineskins Today, Howard A. Snyder (Houston: Touch Publications), 1996, 223 pp.
A rewrite of the 1975 classic, The Problem of Wineskins, which was in print for
over 20 years. An in-depth book that will make you think. 12. Going to the
Root: 9 Proposals for Radical Church Renewal, Christian Smith (Scottdale, PA:
Herald Press), 1992, 176 pp. In addition to the usual concerns, this book adds
the social element, both with the church and outside, in social outreach.

Honorary Mention The most significant recent publishing event is not a book,
but a magazine, House2House. This quality bimonthly is already a landmark of
the movement, having zoomed from 0 to 25,000 copies in its first year. It is a
launch pad for breakthrough strategies, a trusted clearinghouse for opinion,
and a much-needed centering influence. A "must read." Find it at
www.house2house.tv or phone (512) 282-2322. (Free, but donations helpful.)

Guy, if you have trouble finding any of these, just let me know, and I can dig
up phone numbers or street addresses.

Best,

Jim Rutz
Colorado Springs jim(--AT--)openchurch.com


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 15:42:11 EDT
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Gnostic tendencies

Dan,

Excellent response on this issue! If gnostic means "an unmediated "face to
face" encounter with "the naked God (Luther's language), i.e., unmediated by a
person or by Scripture, a persons spirit in direct contact with God..." then we
would have to say that...

Moses was a gnostic (Numbers 12). Paul was a gnostic (Acts 9). Peter was a
gnostic (Acts 10). And, of course, Jesus was the worse gnostic of them all
(John 5:19 among many passages).

John White


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


Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 15:54:44 EDT
From: DenverWH
Subject: Re: [NTCP] church planter Books

Guy,

Looks like Jim has already given you quite a list. My top choices:

1. "Houses that Change the World" Simson. The strongest statement on house
churches. We've given/sold about 150 copies so far. Not for the faint of
heart.

2. "Paul's Idea of Community" Banks. Best scholarly book on the subject.

3. "House Church Networks" Kreider. Smaller, softer version of Simson.
Easier for some to swallow.

4. "Cultivating a Life for God" by Neil Cole. As far as I know, Neil is the
most effective house church planter in the US today (80 - 100 house churches).
This book explains what he thinks is the building block for house churches.
See article below.

John White Spontaneous Multiplication of Disciples through Life Transformation
Groups by Neil Cole

In the past, sweat and blood was required to see meager multiplication occur=

in discipleship. Today, I see spontaneous multiplication I always longed for=

but doubted I would ever experience.

Reproduction is a natural function of the church and is part of God's design=

and plan. The fact that so much personal effort is required for even the
smallest of results in the reproduction of disciples is strong evidence that=

something is wrong - something unnatural to the process. The power to multiply
is inherent in the body of Christ; we need only to tap that power.

Through parables, Jesus described a kingdom that had no difficulty expanding=

or multiplying. Luke documents a movement that gained such momentum through
spontaneous multiplication of disciples and churches that its opponents accused
Paul of turning the world upside down! Many of us are aware of such things
happening in church history or on foreign mission fields, but most of=

us must confess we have never experienced such unconstrained multiplication in
the western church.

Many are very intentional about multiplying groups and churches, assuming that
disciple making will result. However, the results are less than effective. And
- this is Biblically backward! On the contrary, only when we become intentional
about making and multiplying disciples can we be assured that groups and
churches will multiply. Through Life Transformation Groups (LTGs), I have
witnessed group multiplication in as little as three months through conversion
growth. In fact, multiplication occurred faster and easier than I was prepared
to handle.

One evening some women in my church challenged me by saying, "Don't talk to us
about multiplication. We don't want to hear it. We like our group and don't
want to split up." I considered this a good opportunity to test the natural
function of reproduction, so I told them they didn't have to multiply. I
intentionally stopped pushing reproduction to test the truth of natural and
spontaneous multiplication. Within four months, that same group of women became
three groups without any help from me.

LTG's were first introduced in a leadership development workbook titled Raising
Leaders for the Harvest, which I co-authored with Bob Logan. Though the
workbook exists only in English, I have heard of LTG's on almost every
continent of the globe! On a recent trip to Australia, I met a man who was
using LTG's after hearing=

about them from a friend. He was in touch with a church leader in Sri Lanka who
was frustrated with typical discipleship methodology. The LTG concept wa= s
passed through the phone lines, and now LTG's are multiplying in Sri Lanka. Who
knows where they will go from there!

These groups spread like a wild fire because the breath of God blows on
obedient disciples who find fuel in dry lives longing to burn for the Lord.
Because the system is simple, the flames spread unhindered. Ordinary Christians
are empowered to do the most important work any of us can do - make and
multiply disciples.

For more info: http://www.cmaresources.org/index.asp


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

Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 19:28:51 -0400
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church

>Dick W. wrote:
>
>>The issue isn't whether you sing as a group or individually, with or without
>>song books, but whether your meeting is open enough to allow God's Spirit to
>>actually lead it's flow.
>
>I've said it before and I'll say it again: spontaneous does not equal
>spiritual.

Hi Dick and Mike,

What you -both- write sounds appropriate to me when taken in context. I see
merits in your ideas.

The phrase "giftedness to serve" comes to my mind. If a brother or sister has
the ability to lead in song, prayer, or teaching - then the church must see
that ALL such ones have that opportunity.

Rom. 12:5-7 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members
one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is
given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of
faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on
teaching;

greetings from TN,

David Anderson


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


Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 17:19:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church

David, Your words carry a lot of wisdom. I will keep them in mind. Yours,
Vanessa

David Anderson wrote: > Dick W. wrote:
>
>>The issue isn't whether you sing as a group or individually, with or without
>>song books, but whether your meeting is open enough to allow God's Spirit to
>>actually lead it's flow.
>
>I've said it before and I'll say it again: spontaneous does not equal
>spiritual.
 


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #91

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