New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, May 28 2002 Vol 02 : 094
[NTCP] Weekly Prayer Needs
Re: [NTCP] Re: Gnostic tendencies
[NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
[NTCP] Doing Music in an open church
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 12:35:49 -0400
From: Richard Wright
Subject: [NTCP]
Weekly Prayer Needs

Hello all,

Please keep these needs before the Lord on a daily basis. As someone once
observed, "Things happen when we pray, that don't happen when we don't pray".

When the Lord answers your need, please be sure to let us know so that we can
all rejoice together!

Pray for: 04/29/02: Remember these are dear Christians who love Jesus deeply,
and NOT horrible criminals like the Chinese government claims.

1. Pray God would be glorified and His Kingdom continue to grow in China as a
result of these attacks. 2. Ask God to intervene with His mighty power. Pray
only His will would be done in the lives of those arrested. 3. Pray against the
Satanic forces behind these brutal attacks. Not able to damage God, the devil
does all he can to smash God's children. Ask God to bind the demonic forces in
Jesus' Name. 4. Ask the Lord to strengthen our brothers and sisters in prison,
to sustain them, and to help them overcome whatever trials they face. 5.
Fervently pray for the hundreds of families of those arrested, who often face
great hardship with no food or money. They usually lose their jobs, and their
children are expelled from school. 6. Pray for mercy for the persecutors, that
they may be convicted of sin, righteousness and judgement and come to a saving
knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray the believers in prison may show them a
Christ-like example of patient endurance in the face of suffering. - ----

5/4/02: I am praying for more opportunities to interject Jesus into my
conversations and activities. I need more boldness. More concern, too, which
translates into love for the lost and the saved.

David Anderson

- ----

5/6/02 : Please pray for us and the Church, that God's truth and his will shall
prevail over all religious tradtions and customs. and that the pastors and the
people will get a revelation of the house Church and embrace it fully to
express the life of God in this nation.

David Jaggernauth

- ----

Anyway, I'd appreciate prayer for grace in this matter, that the brother may
repent. He's having marriage problems over these and other issues. (See
original post)

Link H

- ----

5/15/02: Please keep praying for Tom & the rest of us. It has been 12 weeks
now, and Tom is not responding very well. The doctors are thinking of sending
him to a hospital an hour away. And now things with Toms mother are looking
bad. She is 62 and in the hospital with either pneumonia or she could be
rejecting her organ transplant. Please pray for her and Tom's step-dad. Her
name is Jean. Blessings to all through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Debbie Kline

- ----

5/15/02: UPDATE

God is still on His throne & prayer does change things!!

We sent the following prayer request on 04/21/02: Dear Saints,

We have received a desperate plea for prayer from a Christian family on the
east coast.

Their daughter is divorced and has a 3 year old boy. A judge has given the
father unsupervised stays with the child . The father has taken the child on at
least three occasions to a child pornography group.

They are desperate!! - Please pray!!

*Yesterday, this family called to thank us for our prayers. They said since we
began praying the boy's father has only taken the child to his parents and has
not made any visits to the porn group. They do ask that we pray that the judge
will take away his visitation rights at a hearing they are having in June.

God answers when we take the time to pray!!

Albert Bredemeyer

- ----

5/14/02: Please please but my brother BobJ and wife Ms Melly on the list... He
is suffering w/ ALS... and w/ these days of advanced stages... They need the
Lord, in all the little ways, desperately also... Bob, Ms Melly and I go back
29 years now... I could use prayer also, that I be encouraging to them, that I
remain sensitive to his needs, offering to do what he can no longer do for
himself... When you really really really love someone, love produces a
vulnerability to pain... I hurt for him...

Jim Pierceall

- ----

5/21/02: Please pray. Our 14 year-old, Amanda, didn't come home from school
today. Her friends all say they haven't seen her, and we haven't been able to
pick up any trace of her. She simply didn't get on the bus. The local law
enforcement folks are looking, but it's getting dark, and she's never been away
from home alone before. This is totally unlike her.

We've placed her in God's hands, and are trusting Him. Please stand with us in
prayer on this.

David Anderson

- ----

5/23/02: I just want to give you an update.

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the end of April. My physician of 22
years did not even call me to tell me until I was in for a check up. I was a
bit ticked off, especially since he is a believer. However, I had my
suspicions, and thanks to another holistic doctor, also a believer, I began a
process of detoxifying my body and a change in diet with vitamins,supplements,
lifestyle changes and exercise. I found that my blood sugars normalized. So,
when my GP sent me to the endocrynologist, my count was normal which surprised
her. She then told me to simply continue what I was doing and that she would
see me in three months.

I have lost over 40 pounds, and I am jogging 2 miles every morning and I am
biking. I have not felt this good in years!

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and ask you to continue to lift me
up. Diabetes is a beatable disease and I am going to beat it! I have really
seen the Lord do mighty things and I am energized and invigorated like never
before. I haven't felt his good since my combat infantry days!

So, again thanks for prayer. Remember: P - Pray U - Until S - Something H -
Happens

Keep PUSHING as you pray, God will deliver!

Samuel Buick

- ----

5/25/02: My husband is considering going with me to Israel in the autumn and if
we do we will need to take important decisions shortly about 'should we go
alone or with a group and to which places should we go'. If we go we want to be
a blessing there. Maybe some of you would pray about it and then afterwards
maybe I will have some stories for the news group!

Gretta

Thanks for your faithful support.

- -- Richard Wright on 05/27/2002

When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are
poisoned. - ---Herbert Hoover, 31st US President


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


Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 13:42:43 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Gnostic tendencies

Howdy all!

TC here. Thought I'd elaborate a little on exactly what I meant by the word
"Gnosticism."

In the first couple of centuries, Gnosticism almost destroyed Christianity. It
was very easy to synthesize the two basic tenants of Gnosticism and OT
Scripture: That the creation of this physical universe the Fall, and that
humans are at their core "a spark or breathe of the uncreated, of God, and that
spark can find its way back to the uncreated, unfallen world, in a solitary act
of knowledge." (Bloom, quoting Lee's Against the Protestant Gnostics)

This was classical Gnosticism. The tendencies that are around today is a belief
that the spirit is real while material things are inherently bad (a la TBN),
and the spirit's understanding of keys, steps, and principles to advance on a
ladder of spiritual power. As a Pentecostal, I was exposed to "The Higher Life"
teachings that taught the difference between "carnal" Christians and
"spiritual" Christians. It was all based on revelation knowledge that not
available to your normal, average, everyday Joe.

Gnostic tendencies result in the glorification of spirituality being in
solitude, radical individualism, and the pragmatism of feelings. James, in his
book The Varieties of Religious Experience, wrote in a very Gnostic vein:

"Religion ... as I now ask you arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us the
feelings, acts, and experience of individual men in their solitude, so far as
they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they consider the
divine."

Bloom terms the American Religion as essentially Gnostic -- and marks it's
beginnings at Cane Ridge at the beginning of the 2nd Great Awakening where
these characteristics eclipsed Scripture, Church, baptism, and the bread and
the wine. How many times have I heard, "The preacher or house church group
didn't even get to preach because the God's Spirit just overwhelmed the
meeting." Like individual, subjective experience is to be preferred over the
Word.

Many of the congregations I have tried to serve and many of the house church
groups I have tried to join with in this (not as a leader but just a guy
searching for a Biblical community) all have been marked by the preference of
the emotional over the Scriptural. It isn't that I think emotions or
experiences are bad, or that intellectual objectivity is even possible, it is
that 90% of Christians I meet judge the Word of God by the authority of their
inward emotions instead of judging their emotions by the authority of
Scripture. Everyone seems to be a radical individualist that joins with the
group only so far as they are going in the same individual direction they are
headed spiritually.

Which has marked very well with what Bloom wrote:

Bloom writes that "... the American Religion ... masks itself as Protestant
Christianity, yet has ceased to be Christian. It has kept the figure of Jesus,
a very solitary and personal American Jesus, who is also the resurrected Jesus
rather than the crucified Jesus or the Jesus who ascended again to His Father."

But anyone who interprets the Bible with an eye to historical context and the
grammar of the original text knows that this is not Biblical Christianity, it a
kind of civil religion that is tamed by the State:

"There are millions of Christians in the United States, but most Americans who
think they are Christians are truly something else, intensely religious but
devout to the American Religion, a faith that is old among us, and comes in
many guises and disguises, and that overdetermines much of our national life."

Democracy and free market Capitalism are pretty good as community politics and
community economics for any nation. Probably the most just and the most
equitable in history. Yet set themselves as directly against the Kingdom of God
when they become an ideology, a way of life. For the Christian, there is only
one Way, one Truth, one Path, and it isn't this present age's politics or
capitalism but is Christ. (My wife won't let me watch any of the Political
conventions of Presidential Inaugurations because I get so frustrated!)

A book to read on how Biblical Christianity was completely reinvented and
turned into something else during the 2nd Great Awakening is Nathan Hatch's
book The Democratization of Christianity.

I don't think that 2nd Century Gonsticism is reappearing in it's primitive
form, Plato is way to out of favor, but I do believe that it's two central
tenants have been resurrected and co-opted by Americans and stand in direct
opposition to Christianity resulting in the elevation of solitude with God in
spirituality, radical individualism, and emotion opposed to reason. Just listen
to Mobys new single, "We are Made of Stars," or watch "Touched by an Angel" or
"7th Heaven!"

Hoped this clarified things! Blessing to each of you in Christ,

TC


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


Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 14:16:30 -0700
From:
Subject: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Well, sorry I have not participated on this list much, but I normally don't
have the time to do much writing on them. I am now on vacation in Houston with
my son's family and decided that as long as I had the time, I would respond to
the following via my web mail:

>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.

- ----------- Deborah,

Your discourse made some scriptures come to mind as I read it:

Isaiah said,

"...He had no form nor comeliness; and when we see Him, no beauty that we
should desire Him."(Isa. 53:2b)

John said of Jesus,

"In Him was life and the life was the light of men."(John 1:4)

Jesus said,

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell
where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of he
Spirit."(John 3:8).

Paul said,

"Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the
letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."(2
Cor. 3:6)

And my dear friend in Montana, Bud Heringer, put it this way, "The opposite of
the Spirit is bricks...Bricks have definite definable dimensions, the wind does
not. Bricks are easy to see and believe in, the Sacred Wind is not. Bricks are
the opposite of the wind." (For those interested, the rest of his article can
be found on our web site at http://www.awildernessvoice.com/Wind.html and many
of the rest of the words of Jesus and Paul can be found in the New Testament.)

If I have to chose one or the other... structure begging for life or life
begging for structure, I will choose the latter and watch to see what is formed
as JESUS, the only true "Church Planter," builds His church.

Your brother and servant,

Michael Clark
Bayview, ID


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


Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 22:37:36 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Michael,

You had written:

>>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.Michael,

You had written:

>>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.

I have been thinking about what you have written about our trying to come to
God just any ole way we choose as long as its sincere. It got me thinking about
the first and second commandments given to Moses. The first is to worship the
One true living God -- to worship the right God. The second was to worship the
right God correctly. The Jews were NOT free to worship God as they saw fit, on
their own terms in the OT.

I think of Aaron making a golden calf, and saying this is the god that
delivered us from the Egyptians. They were worshipping the right God, i.e., the
God who had delivered them from Egypt, but in the wrong way, by making an
image, a point of contact. I am also reminded of Aaron's sons who offered
"strange fire" after God had given minute details on exactly what sacrifices
would be acceptable. They probably designed their own heart felt "worship
experience," one that came emotionally and sincerely from their hearts.

How many did God kill at the bottom of Mt. Sinai? How long did it take fire
from heaven to consume Aaron's sons? Just because we are of a New and better
Covenant doesn't mean that we can approach God any ole way we want either! Have
to say that I heartily agreed with your post, once again.

Yet I think there should be a note of caution as well. Christianity
accommodated the Enlightenment Rationalism as it compromised with Modernity,
and exalted rationality, objectivity, and Structuralism (to borrow a term from
postmodern theorists). This was just as disastrous for the Church as those
Evangelical Christians that compromised with Romanticism in the 2nd Great
Awakening and placed mysticism, subjectivism (existentialism), and rebellion
against any authority structure that would inhibit radical individualism. I
believe the modern separation of mind and emotion is false, that both can and
will compliment each other -- a kind of Christian wholeness if you will. No
"heart knowledge" over "head knowledge" in a passion of anti-intellectualism,
no "cold orthodoxy (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one)" without passion.

Great post! Blessings to you,

TC


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


Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 23:01:39 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

TheologusCrucis wrote:

>I have been thinking about what you have written about our trying to come to
>God just any ole way we choose as long as its sincere. It got me thinking
>about the first and second commandments given to Moses. The first is to
>worship the One true living God -- to worship the right God. The second was to
>worship the right God correctly. The Jews were NOT free to worship God as they
>saw fit, on their own terms in the OT.

Dear T.C.

Good point. They were not to do as the Canaanites did, just worhip God in any
ole way in any ole place they saw fit, but hence forth to worship God in the
place he would require. With the woman at the well, Jesus made it quite clear
where that place was, it was in truth a Spiritual place. Tragically, the
guardians of the truth, are not able to get along with each other, and show
little inclination to do so. The result is "high places at the head of every
way", monuments to our continuing inability to get along, neither with God nor
each other.

The issue seems to be who controls the pulpit. We really should think about
replacing it with the cross. That's the one that Jesus used. I continue to
believe that a big part of the problem is that it's easier to take up an
offering for a lecture than for a conversation. Would that we could have
"speaking the truth in love" meetings as easily as we can have" speaking the
truth in love" web lists.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 23:19:16 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Jay,

Indeed, part, or perhaps a lot, of what plagues North American Christianity is
a lack of communication, of simple conversation between believers. As a
credentialed minister, I can count on one hand the conversations I've had about
the central truths, and therefore the practices, of Pentecostal Christianity.
Instead, everyone wanted to be "open" and "vulnerable" with each other about
the experiences of being in the ministry! Which brings me to this weakness in
the clergy and with the troops: they don't want to question or converse,
because that would require something they have been told was against faith --
intellect.

In the new Christianity Today, I read about Dallas superseding Colorado Springs
as the center of Evangelicalism. They have larger and more numerous mega
churches and bigger and better para church ministries, it seems. In a side bar,
they did a story about an Orthodox bishop that was excited about having 35 new
members. His congregation was only a 150-200 one next to all these mega
churches. He said that he was excited because in the Orthodox church, to join
was a major intellectual and emotional commitment, that they had decided to be
followers and not spectators.

Jay, I wished you lived close to me. You could not know what it would mean to
me personally to have a brother willing and able to talk these things thru,
someone passionately committed to the truth, and willing to think thru hard
questions. I agree -- conversation, dialogue, is far more important than what
we have made impersonal and dull!

Blessings, Jay!

TC


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


Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 09:09:47 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: [NTCP] Doing
Music in an open church

Link H. wrote:

Good question. This is an issue I've pondered for some time .... Then, a
couple of pages into _The Open Church_ I realized that the concept of the 'hymn
sandwich' led by the preacher, isn't in the Bible ...

Some good thoughts, Link. But what I'm driving at goes a little deeper than
that. It is an assumption that I want to question and explore biblically: does
spiritual worship necessarily have to be spontaneous-- i.e., free of imposed
structures? Or to put it another way, are we quenching the Spirit when we have
a "hymn sandwich" style service, or should we "release the Spirit" to "have His
way" among us by "putting our plans in neutral," "getting out of the way," and
"untying God's hands," so to speak, to "make room" for His operation in the
"flow of the service"?

Or is this just another example of the metaphor BECOMING the paradigm for
interpreting the reality?-- when the reality is in fact something else
altogether ... or at least different by degree? Do you see my point?

I see in Scripture that it is possible to "put out the Spirit's fire" by
"treat[ing] prophecies with contempt" (1 The. 5:19). But is that the same as
limiting prophecies to three or less per meeting? (Still a viable
interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:28-33, especially in light of the limitation on
tongues in vs. 27).

I also see in Scripture that it is possible to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God"
by "unwholesome talk, ... bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice" (Eph. 4:29-31). In other words, certain kinds
of sin. But does it grieve Him for someone to structure a meeting so that
preaching/teaching of the Bible gets more time in the meeting than, say,
singing? Or speaking in tongues? Are those sin issues, or just a style issues
... so long as spiritual gifts are truly sought (1 Cor. 14:1) and not despised
(1 The. 5:20)?

Another related thought: how is it possible that the Spirit who came (comes?)
upon unsanctified individuals against their will and held them prisoner while
they uncontrollably prophesied (1 Sam. 19:19-24), or the Spirit who had a
wicked high priest proclaim the essence of the gospel ... without Caiphus or
the others in his band even knowing it (Joh. 11:49-52), how is it possible that
He would somehow become so weak that God couldn't adequately communicate with
the people whom He loves so much because of a song leader or OHP? Or-- God
forbid!-- liturgy? ;-)

>You've pointed out that 'ministering' in the phrase 'ministering to the Lord'
>at the beginning of Acts 13 is the word from which we get 'liturgy.' _IF_
>this passage is describing Paul and Barnabas doing a type of synagogue, then
>we don't know for certain that these liturgical practices were, at that time,
>considered to be for universal church practice.

For substantial evidence that Gk. LEITOURGOUNTON ("they ministered"-- Act 13:2)
with its variously inflected forms throughout the Bible at the very *least*
denotes offices with *prescribed duties*-- in both governmental and religious
contexts, I refer the readers to my Feb. 18 post on the "Confronting the
Evidence" thread. We don't have a prescription to do liturgy, it's true. We
do however have a description, and we do have examples of liturgy in the only
two windows into heavenly worship that we possess: Isa. 6:1-4 and Rev. 15:1-8--
worship mirrored in the earthly tabernacle, the temple, the synagogue,
suggested in Act. 13:2, and then seen historically in the ancient post-biblical
Church. One can refuse to connect the dots where the "ink appears smudged" or
one can note an obvious pattern and accept it as our Christian heritage. It
doesn't affect salvation to insist on the "spontaneous" model, but neither does
it stifle God's Holy Spirit to worship liturgically. As I pointed out before,
the Charismatic Renewal entered Protestant churches via the Anglican/Episcopal
branches of Christ's Body-- the most liturgical segments of Protestantism.

>'Flowing' isn't used of meetings in the KJV. That's more of a modern usage.
>'Flow' might work well in a modern redention of the verse about prophets
>speaking as being 'carried along' by the Spirit.

The point about being "carried along" by the Spirit is a good try ... but I'd
like to point out that it is individuals who are "flowing" in 2 Pet. 1:21, not
meetings. Perhaps a bit nit-picky for some of you, but I believe in reading
Scripture *carefully*. I've learned that those details do indeed count. If
the "flow" was so "organic" to the 1 Cor. 14 meeting, why did Paul have to
impose outside rules to keep things in check, Link? Without a "spine" of
"do's" and "don't's" from an authoritative source, the Corinthian meetings had
been degenerating into "mollusks," with spiritual gifts primarily profiting
those who exercised them, ... and that in a selfish way. The NT meetings Paul
demanded were not so "spontaneous" as some of us might imagine. But they were
spiritual!

>Michael, considering the interaction between the non-believing Jewish
>community, and believers, isn't is possible, in your opinion, that early
>church meetings involved a lot of spontaneous prophesying, and took on a more
>ridgid liturgical form under the influence of the Jewish synagogue?

If you want my opinion Link, I'll give it: I think both ecstatic prophecy and
liturgy often went hand-in-hand. Under the umbrella of the loose but
affiliated Jewish synagogue structure. With God's blessing. That's what the
scriptural, historical, cultural evidence suggests. And my personal experience
is that CHARISMA and structure are not mutually exclusive by a long shot, since
in addition to a teaching gift, I also prophesy from time to time. Been known
to have a vision every once in a while too. And I attend a *highly* liturgical
Messianic Jewish synagogue. Granted, most of God's prophecy through me takes
the form of my seeking to draw folks back to the inspired word ("To the law and
to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no
light of dawn"-- Isa. 8:20). But I think there is a place for that in the
scheme of things, don't you?

Michael
Jerusalem

P.S. Mr. Bob W., ... that you reading my mail? Whazzupwichoo?


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


Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 07:53:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

I can't remember exactly where it says (no Bible nearby), but the scripture
clearly says that the RIGHT way to worship God is to care for the orphans and
widows, who were the most needy people back then. In othert words, God wants to
be worshipped by our sharing everything we have with others. Like Jesus who
told the rich man to give all away to the poor and follow Him? Hopw many of you
have done this? I have, and life is hard, but MUCH more satisfactory, and God
provided for my children through my parents who are not christians... in other
words, He sets up those who aren't His to serve those of us who are. But still,
I live with practically nothing so that I can serve the poor... By that I mean
I don't worship ANYTHING that is made by man. Most worship their car, their TV,
their computer... and all those comforts. I hate comforts, for they make us
forget the needs of others. I just bought an air conditioner (here, 90F is
COLD, and noon is usually 100-110F), but God Himself placed it in my path, and
I still feel a bit guilty about spending that money that could have bought food
for a hungry person.

Vanessa from Venezuela

- --- TheologusCrucis wrote:

>Michael,
>
>You had written:
>
>>>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. I have been thinking about what you have written
>about our trying to come to God just any ole way we choose as long as its
>sincere. It got me thinking about the first and second commandments given to
>Moses. The first is to worship the One true living God -- to worship the right
>God. The second was to worship the right God correctly. The Jews were NOT free
>to worship God as they saw fit, on their own terms in the OT.
>
>I think of Aaron making a golden calf, and saying this is the god that
>delivered us from the Egyptians. They were worshipping the right God, i.e.,
>the God who had delivered them from Egypt, but in the wrong way, by making an
>image, a point of contact. I am also reminded of Aaron's sons who offered
>"strange fire" after God had given minute details on exactly what sacrifices
>would be acceptable. They probably designed their own heart felt "worship
>experience," one that came emotionally and sincerely from their hearts.
>
>How many did God kill at the bottom of Mt. Sinai? How long did it take fire
>from heaven to consume Aaron's sons? Just because we are of a New and better
>Covenant doesn't mean that we can approach God any ole way we want either!
>Have to say that I heartily agreed with your post, once again.
>
>Yet I think there should be a note of caution as well. Christianity
>accommodated the Enlightenment Rationalism as it compromised with Modernity,
>and exalted rationality, objectivity, and Structuralism (to borrow a term from
>postmodern theorists). This was just as disastrous for the Church as those
>Evangelical Christians that compromised with Romanticism in the 2nd Great
>Awakening and placed mysticism, subjectivism (existentialism), and
>
>rebellion against any authority structure that would inhibit radical
>individualism. I believe the modern separation of mind and emotion is false,
>that both can and will compliment each other -- a kind of Christian wholeness
>if you will. No "heart knowledge" over "head knowledge" in a passion of
>anti-intellectualism, no "cold orthodoxy (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one)"
>without passion.
>
>Great post! Blessings to you,
>
>TC
>


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


Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 15:55:06 -0400
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

On Mon, 27 May 2002 23:01:39 -0400, jferris wrote:
>TheologusCrucis wrote:

>The issue seems to be who controls the pulpit. We really should think about
>replacing it with the cross. That's the one that Jesus used. I continue to
>believe that a big part of the problem is that it's easier to take up an
>offering for a lecture than for a conversation. Would that we could have
>"speaking the truth in love" meetings as easily as we can have" speaking the
>truth in love" web lists.
Jay,

You hit the nail on the head.

The best way to control the pulpit is to get rid of it, and embrace a biblical
pattern of meeting, as touched on in 1 Cor. 14, beginning at v.26. I clearly
states that no one person is to control the dialog of a meeting, but that each
person is free to exercise their gifts. It even goes so far as to instruct
someone speaking to sit down when the Spirit gives someone else a word to
speak.

We've been so conditioned to accept the clerical system, we are blind to the
pattern given us by the Lord.

Dick
Phil. 3:12-14


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #94

< Previous Digest Next Digest >


house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions