New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Monday, May 27 2002 Vol 02 : 093
RE: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church
[NTCP] Dealing with rusty denominational structures
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?
[NTCP] church planter Books
Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies
Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies
Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 10:00:58 -0400
From: "Robert James Wiktorski"
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Doing Music in an open church

Wiktorski wrote: Link, I've heard from some Greek scholars say that prophecy
there could mean all that: teaching, tongue, interpretation, word of knowledge
(or wisdom)---anything from God to people.

1. http://www.waltermartin.com/realaudio.html his messages on prophecy.

2. Manfred T. Brauch deals with this in his book, "hard sayings of Paul"

I like Jay's point RE 2 Kings 3.

bobby

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

Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 14:48:39 EDT
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: [NTCP] Dealing with rusty denominational structures

Guy and all,

Eight days ago you asked about who should officiate the Lord's supper.

IMO, nobody.

Hey, ask yourself, "Who is going to officiate my breakfast tomorrow morning?"

A few lines from my forthcoming book, "The New Christianity," may help: In your
small group, you can celebrate the Lord's supper in a hundred fascinating ways,
most of which would be impractical in a large meeting. For one example,
instead of merely passing the elements, you can have each member answer some
set question as he or she partakes: What are you thankful for right now?
What does the death of Christ mean to you today? What is the greatest thing
about being part of the body of Christ? Now that your sins have been paid
for, what part of life is different for you? As you partake in Christ's
death, what aspect of the world have you died to? What does it mean to you
that you will live forever? Lead us all in a short prayer for an unsaved
friend of yours, asking that the blood of Christ would soon cover his or her
sins. Guy, with this sort of procedure, I've seen lives changed in communion
services. And lots of Kleenex used up!

As you can imagine, this almost eliminates the time devoted to officiant
comments--and maximizes the time for sharing/communion.

Jim Rutz
Colorado Springs


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Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 15:46:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: Link H
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

- --- Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

>WHy don't quakers even consider baptism necessary?

George Fox is considered to be the founder of the Quaker movement. (The name
'Quaker' was actually an insult used against them, originally.)

Fox wrongly interpreted all water baptism to be water baptism. A careful study
of the book of Acts, for example chapters 8, 10 &11, and 19 show that this
intepretation was wrong.

Some early Quakers would say that the Spirit taught whatever doctrine Fox
taught, whether it was right or wrong.

Quakers started out as a house church movement, similar in many ways to what
some people on this forum are doing. They had open meetings, etc. There is a
lot we can learn from them. But Christ did command the apostles to make
disciples and to baptize. The Bible clearly shows that the disciples baptized
in water. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost. Apostles baptized people in
water.


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Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 12:08:45 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] church planter Books

Guy Muse asked:

>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?

1) CHURCH PLANTING: LAYING FOUNDATIONS by Stuart Murray (Scottdale, PA: Herald
Press, 2001), which provides a biblical, historical, and theological overview
(particularly related to the Anabaptist movement) of church planting, covering
such topics as models for church planting, church structures, church polity,
leadership qualifications, etc. More theoretical than practical, but still a
good thought-provoking read.

2) BACK TO JERUSALEM: CHURCH PLANTING IN THE HOLY LAND by Ray Register
(Enumclaw, WA: WinePress Publishing, 2000) which is quite interesting and
practical for insights into church planting in difficult areas. Register
provides some perspective into the Middle East conflict while drawing on 35
years of experience here helping individuals and groups of both Arabs and Jews
find peace through Jesus, and through the establishment of local congregations
in Israel-- most often house churches.

3) OUR HANDS ARE STAINED WITH BLOOD by Michael L. Brown (Shippensburg, PA:
Destiny Image Publishers, 1992) which, though not dealing directly with church
planting, house churches or church planting movements, contains information
vital to any believer who wants to know why the advancement of the kingdom in
these endeavors among the nations is hindered by what the Church has
historically done to the Jews. And who wants to reverse the curse.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 12:09:29 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies

TC wrote:

>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.

I have a friend who, until a few months back, served God as a staff member of
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries which, as you're probably aware, places
a lot of emphasis on people thinking through their Christian faith. Using
their God-given brains. My friend wrote me about what he discovered as he held
workshops on the spiritual disciplines throughout the US and several other
countries. He basically confirmed Bloom's (and your?) perhaps overstated
thesis ("Gnosticism"). But the point is well taken.

Evangelical Christians of all stripes-- particularly in the States and western
Europe-- are less and less inclined to trust a clearly reasoned and presented
biblical case for ... almost anything. Because they are more products of their
post-modern culture than they are hooked-in members of biblical and historic
Christianity. They practice a form of Christian faith that is riding on the
coat-tails of the philosophical fads of our day and hence they tend to screen
out those sections of the Bible which do not support their disdain for
authority and propositional revelation. Consequently my friend discovered that
folks are very "New Agey" (Bloom would say "Gnostic") in their approaches to
faith in Christ and to hearing the will of the Lord.

I'll give a recent rather painful example of this phenomenon from my own
experience. I had spent quite a bit of time studying through the topic of
baptism. For a couple of years solid, in fact. Along the way I had discovered
that the standard evangelical view of the rite-- which relegates baptism to an
appendage, tacked on to an already completed salvation-transaction, received by
faith through PRAYER-- was only about 300 years old. That the biblical
writers, the Post-Apostolic writers, most of the Reformers, and by far most of
the modern Church believed in baptism FOR the remission of sins ... as THE
means by which one, by faith in Christ, enters the new covenant. But most
evangelicals do not hold to the historical position.

So I began to write and talk with Christian friends and family members about my
research and tried to persuade them to at least re-examine their views on
baptism and its meaning; a re-examination based on biblical and historical
evidence, and clear thinking. Some folks were open to consider the data--
that's all I could ever ask. Others however were not. In fact, my eldest
sister, with whom I am closest-- a godly and spiritually mature woman whom I
had led to the Lord in the 70s-- simply did not FEEL that the historical
postion on baptism could be right. To this day she has demonstrated an
irrational and resolute unwillingness to even examine one ounce of evidence.
Zippo. "The Lord told me you are wrong," was all I could get from her.

It's possible, of course, that my sister is right. And that I am wrong. But
how does one find out? A supposed "unmediated God encounter" plus nothing? Or
a possible word from the Lord ... plus confirmation? Doesn't the Scripture say
somewhere: "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with
contempt. Test everything [which begs the question: "how?"]. Hold on to the
good [evaluated obviously by some more objective standard]" (1 The. 5:19-21,
bracketed comments mine)? And in another place: "He who answers before
listening-- that is his folly and his shame" (Pro. 18:13)?

I came away from that and other encounters reinforced in my conviction that the
heart is indeed deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Even among true
followers of Jesus. Myself included. All around me I saw people-- trained
theologians, seminary professors, pastor/teachers, faith-filled clear
thinkers-- fall back on excuses like: "I know the evidence points a certain
way, but I just don't FEEL like I can go there". (I actually heard that from
one of the leading voices in the modern Messianic movement!). The implications
for such a radical departure from the evangelical party line were simply too
difficult to follow through on. And somehow in the process-- now this is the
clincher!-- these people each deceived themselves into thinking that they were
really following God's leading in their dismissal of the evidence. Many folks
I contacted were truly taking, as Francis Shaeffer once called it, "a leap into
non-reason". Scripture, history, logic were relegated to the backseat in favor
of some unconfirmable "unmediated God encounter" which ran counter to objective
truth. Clearly not the Christian ideal.

Dan S. wrote to 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.

If I may presume to speak on TC's behalf (correct me dear brother [TC], if I
overstep my bounds), ... nothing could be further from the truth. Spiritual
intimacy is the goal and privelege of the born again believer. On that I'm
sure we all agree. And we are afforded a tasty degree of it in this present
life, via the Spirit. But as of yet, we may not see God. Directly. Our
relationship with Him is still mediated through Christ. And directed by the
dictates of Scripture. There are still barriers because of our sin and because
there are stages to the divine plan which have not all been fulfilled. One day
we will see Him "face to face" (1 Cor. 13:12)... but that day is not today. At
least not yet.

>The Lord said: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in
>spirit..." (John 4:24).

Just the part of that verse which you failed to type in is that portion which
provides the balance to the overemphasis I feel compelled to address.

Truth. Structure. Objectivity. We, as disciples of Christ, are not free to
"do church" any ole way we may feel led. And people should not imply in their
comments that those who are less spontaneous in expression are missing out on
any of the "freedom" which they themselves enjoy since truthfully, freedom
comes through the presence of God's Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17), not through the
presence or absence of a song leader, OHPs, or any such morally neutral
trappings. There are commandments and guidelines revealed in Holy Writ, which
all must search out and follow ... including that *commandment* to be
continuously filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Whether it seems spontaneous
or not.

Only then, when we "do church" according to the word, may we be assured that we
are truly worshipping God "in spirit AND in truth" (Joh. 4:24, emphasis mine).
Both spirit and truth are important; one aspect of worship that is pleasing to
the Father should never be highlighted at the expense of the other.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 08:58:01 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Gnostic
tendencies

Deborah wrote:

>Truth. Structure. Objectivity. We, as disciples of Christ, are not free to
>"do church" any ole way we may feel led. And people should not imply in their
>comments that those who are less spontaneous in expression are missing out on
>any of the "freedom" which they themselves enjoy since truthfully, freedom
>comes through the presence of God's Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17), not through the
>presence or absence of a song leader, OHPs, or any such morally neutral
>trappings. There are commandments and guidelines revealed in Holy Writ, which
>all must search out and follow ... including that *commandment* to be
>continuously filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Whether it seems spontaneous
>or not.

Dear Michael,

I appreciated your latest on this thread.

Just a thought.

There were many books in the library of what God began to do and say in the
person of His Son while He was still in the flesh, books which were never
published. Is it possible for us to believe that He is still producing
unpublished libraries in us, and that without a lot of repitition? Now, as
then, there is much which could be written, and that without contradiction of
the one Book we do have. It seems to me that the problem of division is the
problem of burning one another's books, just because they aren't identical with
our own.

The Christ we worship and serve is much bigger than the library of any one of
us.

Yours in Him,

Jay


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Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 11:15:16 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Immediate baptism?

I have not followed this thread too closely, but I have studied this whole
issue thoroughly.

I was was baptized as a teen, under extensive pressure from my father (the
senior pastor of the institutional church church). It was not until some 7
years later that I was truly serious about my faith and wanted to get baptized
again. My dad absolutely refused. So I went to one of the two univerity
campuses, spoke with the leadership and asked if they would baptize me, and one
of them agreed. My dad found out and was insensed. He argued that I was doing
over what was already a done deal and wasn't to be repeated. I argued that he
and my mother had pressured me in my youth and that I was an adult and fully
understood that baptism was my physical identity with Christ and his death and
his resurrection for my redemption. So I wanted to do for me and no one else.
They were very upset and my dad remained so to his death. My mother has not
been the same with me since and that was 20 years ago!

I am saying this simply to say that I believe that the pressures I went through
are the direct result of a lack of intimacy with the body of Christ. Church was
then and is now for many, a place or an institution to which to belong and
baptism is viewed more as a rite of passage than what the Scriptures teach.
The pressure that has been excerted upon my 13 and 12 year olds is unreal.

I believe that as we live in community and intimacy and live our lives in
Christ with other brothers and sisters, it is hard to hide who we truly are. We
live in open relationships that meet from house to house and we also hang out
with each other, and many of us live in the same part of town. It is pretty
well impossible to hide who you are. In an institutional church you can't do
that, you really don't know people all that well. They can go through the
motions by going through a class and giving all the right answers, but we
really do not truly know them. In the house church setting, the emphasis is on
family and body life and it is more open to becoming known in the midst of
people who love you. As people recognize who they are and are truly saved, and
are now fully in the Lord it behoves us to call people to obedience by having
them baptized as soon as the revelation of salvation in Jesus has been realized
and accepted and articulated. That can mean a person is baptized right away!

The evolution of baptism to what it now is has been due to the lack of intimacy
and family and the lack of true body life. As we return to true body life and
proper instruction on what baptism is, we have no right to withold it from
those who fully comprehend the importance and symbolism of going through the
waters of baptism.

Blessings,

Sam 


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #93

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