New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, May 30 2002 Vol 02 : 095
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re[2]: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 21:28:52 +0000
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

I would like to respond to this thread but kinda busy at the moment, however, i
would like to say something briefly,

spontaneous doesnt equal spooky and structure does not equal dead.

I am not into the laughing, falling down thing very much although I have had my
experience with both. I have some personal misgivings about it. Also i am not
into the spooky type of Christian experience, never have been and dont want to
be. I believe scripture comes before experience (faith cometh by hearing the
word).

It is very difficult for me to "spontaneously write a response to this thread"
I believe God directs our thinking as we put pen to paper ( or fingers to
keyboard ).

This said, spontaneity in Christianity does not negate or leave out structure.
When the structure becomes rigid, thats when your trouble starts.

I would also like to know how many worship leaders were there in the early
church and what historical evidence do we have to support this function in the
Church. What qualifies someone to be a worship leader?? Do they have to be able
to sing well ( they are gifted with a good voice), if that is the case then can
we say then that if someone is an accountant he is best suited to handle the
finances in the Church.

David Jaggernauth


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 13:34:09 +0200
From: "Deborah"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Richard W. wrote:

>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.

The tradition, both in Judaism and in historical Christianity, of a platform
and podium-style meeting comes primarily from the following verses:

"Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion ....
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing
above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up" (Neh. 8:4, 5).

Which was truly "a biblical pattern of meeting". The fact that the Torah (Law)
was preserved as a scroll (Heb. SEFER), and not as a more managable bound book
(which hadn't been invented yet), and the knowledge that no respectable Jew
would let the Torah scroll drag or rest on the ground, informed the early
synagogue-- and Church-- that a podium (KJV) had obviously been placed on the
platform upon which to lay the scroll of the Torah. Hence an abiding podium
tradition to this day.

Is this a morally neutral issue, or do we as NT believers *need* to dispense
with such furniture? You decide. You can gather from my tone what I would
say.

Either way, a pulpit does not *by its presence* hinder the inactment of a 1
Cor. 14 style meeting since 1 Cor. 14: 30 implies that those speaking
revelations were standing, while the others remained sitting. This is only a
step away (if that) from the idea of the pulpit anyway, which, as we read above
(Neh. 8:4, 5), was so that all the people present could see the speaker while
he addressed them. Not necessarily to "control" the meeting.

Michael C wrote:

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.

But that's just the point: we are NOT left with just those two choices. The
"Lady or the Tiger," so to speak. The early Church was ALIVE and *structured*.
So was the post-Apostolic Church. The later deadness came in, not through
structure per se, but through biblicaly (not personally) defined *sin* and
moral compromise with the world. The same principle holds true today. While
folks are complaining about morally neutral issues such as song leaders, OHPs,
"hymn sandwich"-style meetings, and liturgy, they are missing the point. IMO.
The reason for the lack of spiritual vitality in Christ's Church is and always
has been sin. Style counts for something-- I grant you that-- but not *nearly*
as much as I keep hearing (reading).

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 10:50:02 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Deborah wrote:

>Either way, a pulpit does not *by its presence* hinder the inactment of a 1
>Cor. 14 style meeting since 1 Cor. 14: 30 implies that those speaking
>revelations were standing, while the others remained sitting. This is only a
>step away (if that) from the idea of the pulpit anyway, which, as we read
>above (Neh. 8:4, 5), was so that all the people present could see the speaker
>while he addressed them. Not necessarily to "control" the meeting.
>
Dear Michael,

Point well taken. Poor communication includes obscurity of many kinds,

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be
revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace." 1
Corinthians 14:29-30

In the original, "... another that sitteth...", does not necessarily imply that
the first is standing, it can equally well imply that the the first is active,
and the second is inactive. In any case, receiving and communicating
spontaneous revelation would not appear to require a pulpit, and in its
absence, those who tend to talk to much have that much less to yield.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 10:50:15 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>This said, spontaneity in Christianity does not negate or leave out structure.
>When the structure becomes rigid, that's when your trouble starts.

Dear David,

Where structure is concerned, it occurs to me that God "... puts the solitary
in families". Between the truth of that, and its confirmation in Romans 1 we
are invited to look at the things created to see how God structures, and
nurtures life.

As my dear brother Nate pointed out years ago, "In the beginning of His new
creation, it was everyone; everyplace; every day. It very quickly became
certain ones; in certain places; on certain days." In short the Church was
quickly disenfranchised and robbed of life, just as Paul had warned the
Ephesians elders.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 14:09:49 EDT
From: JAMESRUTZ
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Dear Michael,

1. If Ezra's epoch-changing proclamation of the Law was "truly a biblical
pattern of meeting," then the feeding of the 5000 was truly a Biblical pattern
of eating. Get real, bro. That makes as much sense as saying that Jesus was
establishing a Biblical pattern of meeting when he got a boat and pushed off a
few feet from the shore.

2. As you say, "a pulpit does not BY ITS PRESENCE hinder the enactment of a 1
Cor. 14 style meeting." But the USE of a pulpit always occurs in buildings
where chairs/pews are arranged in rows and all the people except one are
expected to sit facing forward in silence--which over time emasculates them,
often irremediably. You can't dismiss this with a wave of your hand as a
matter of "style."

3. You say,

"1 Cor. 14: 30 implies that those speaking revelations were standing, while the
others remained sitting. This is only a step away (if that) from the idea of
the pulpit anyway, which, as we read above (Neh. 8:4, 5), was so that all the
people present could see the speaker while he addressed them."

A podium/riser/dais enables people to see a speaker; a pulpit conceals about
two-thirds of a speaker. Standing up accomplishes the same thing as a podium,
but a pulpit always implies that all the speaking will be done at that pulpit.
So no, standing is not "only a step away from the pulpit." Standing aids group
communication; a pulpit kills it.

4. Yes, the ultimate problem in the history of the church has always been sin.
That's obvious. But structures (figurative and literal) are what made it
possible for heresies and ecclesiastical abuses to abound. Things like the
Inquisition and papal infallibility and the denial of the Scriptures to laymen
could never have been hatched out of gatherings of a dozen believers on their
knees in a circle. Structures stopped the lay 99% of the church from being a
check on the clergy 1%. Perhaps 30-50 BILLION souls have gone to eternal death
because "structures" choked off the sin-cleansing power of Christ and the
life-bearing work of the Holy Spirit. This is not a matter of style.

5. Is it just me, or are these facts patently obvious to everybody on this
list except you? Most of us have been in plenty of meetings where the Spirit
was free to sweep through, bringing confession, repentance, and new life, and
we know through long experience that He works far faster and deeper in open
gatherings than in a pulpit-centered service where mute sheep sit in rows and
try to look awake. In a chat group like this, why do you keep championing
causes like pulpits and liturgy and whatnot?

Your parting concession that "style counts for something" is pathetic. Sorry
for my tone here, Michael, but it's not a matter of style, it's a matter of
life or death.

Your brother in the Lord,

Jim Rutz
Colorado Springs


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 15:34:05 -0400
From: Richard Wright
Subject: Re[2]:
[NTCP] Structure vs. Life

Hello Deborah,

Thursday, May 30, 2002, 7:34:09 AM, you wrote:

D> Richard W. wrote:

>>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.

D> The tradition, both in Judaism and in historical Christianity, of a D>
platform and podium-style meeting comes primarily from the following verses:

D> "Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion ....
D> Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing
D> above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up" (Neh. 8:4, 5).

D> Which was truly "a biblical pattern of meeting". The fact that the Torah D>
(Law) was preserved as a scroll (Heb. SEFER), and not as a more managable D>
bound book (which hadn't been invented yet), and the knowledge that no D>
respectable Jew would let the Torah scroll drag or rest on the ground, D>
informed the early synagogue-- and Church-- that a podium (KJV) had D>
obviously been placed on the platform upon which to lay the scroll of the D>
Torah. Hence an abiding podium tradition to this day. D> Is this a
morally neutral issue, or do we as NT believers *need* to D> dispense with such
furniture? You decide. You can gather from my tone what D> I would say. D>
Either way, a pulpit does not *by its presence* hinder the inactment D> of a
1 Cor. 14 style meeting since 1 Cor. 14: 30 implies that those speaking D>
revelations were standing, while the others remained sitting. This is only D>
a step away (if that) from the idea of the pulpit anyway, which, as we read D>
above (Neh. 8:4, 5), was so that all the people present could see the D>
speaker while he addressed them. Not necessarily to "control" the meeting.

D> Michael C wrote:

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

D> But that's just the point: we are NOT left with just those two D>
choices. The "Lady or the Tiger," so to speak. The early Church was ALIVE D>
and *structured*. So was the post-Apostolic Church. The later deadness D>
came in, not through structure per se, but through biblicaly (not D>
personally) defined *sin* and moral compromise with the world. The same D>
principle holds true today. While folks are complaining about morally D>
neutral issues such as song leaders, OHPs, "hymn sandwich"-style meetings, D>
and liturgy, they are missing the point. IMO. The reason for the lack of D>
spiritual vitality in Christ's Church is and always has been sin. Style D>
counts for something-- I grant you that-- but not *nearly* as much as I keep D>
hearing (reading).

D> --MICHAEL
D> Jerusalem

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

It's not so much a matter of a pulpit being inherently evil, but that it has
become an instument of control in much of the Church today. The pattern of
meeting is not the physical setting, unless it impairs the funcion of the body
of Christ in it's ministry.

- -- Dick
Phil.3:12-14


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Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 15:30:44 -0700
From: "Brittian's Mail"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

James, A note on your fourth point. You say "things like the inquistition,
papal infallibility, and the denial of scriptures to laymen could never have
been hatched out of a...(at this point you reference two things 1) being a
specific number of men which implies definate small group/house church
overtones, and 2) dedication to prayer, so both form and function are implied
in this particular meeting you describe) etc...

Whereas I agree with you that the answer is not a structure of the
instititutionalized religion, I would take a step further and say that nothing
of mans building or creation is the answer, period the end (not even the highly
lifted up and praised House Church)!!!

History testifies to this, you have Luther the great reformer persecuting
Zwingili for religious non-conformity, who encouraged people to meet in homes,
, so much blood was shed in that conflict alone that it rivals the inquistion.
Yet it does not end there, Zwingili turned right around and descimated the
Swiss Brethren (of whom the Mennonites are descended) for religious
non-conformity to his ideas. The story ends there right? Nope. In fact about
a hundred and twenty five years later one of the swiss brethren who was
dedicated to God's word, to prayer (probably on his knees), to meeting in small
groups, to having no name except that which man has labeled them as, to working
with their hands, and to having no great systematized structure except that of
the eldership of the local, suddenly wrote a horrible treatise condemning the
Moravian Brethren, one that was so filled with lies and deceit that it would
stain many future generations from looking at the Moravians as a legitimate
work of God. And so the Mennonites/Swiss Brethren, because this particular
group did not conform to the religious climate they thought was correct
persectuted with whatever means they had the wherewith to draw upon. And so on
down the centuries it goes. One group after the next, founded on all the
principles and mystery of Christ, often times outside of the institutionalized
setting (for a time), persecuting the next to come along, and why? Because Man
cannot stand to have his foundation built upon!!! And whats more that old Man
will do whatever it takes to protect his building and his territory.

What I am saying is this, when a brother who disagrees, and who from all of his
experience in the Lord holds to those very experiences that he has witnessed,
those who have another or a different revelation of Christ who themselves have
been under horrible scrutiny and pressure to conform to someone elses
experience in the past, are the same ones drawing the sword and "throwing
spears" at this disagreeable brother.

Form and function can be dead things, even wonderful form such as twelve men
and women without a human headship meeting in a house, even excellent function
such as the truly spiritualized kneeling prayer. Given time and years anything
that man has built, especially if it has been built to try and reach out to
God, this thing will become a dead thing, and its founders and adherents will
be left with a choice to defend it and go down with it, or to move on.

A wise man said once, "We play devils advocate so often, and we advocate so
many good things, and experiences that we have seen, but we must become
advocates for Christ and nothing else!"

Christ is the only builder, the only building, the only form, and the only
function, and I have a feeling that when the enemies of God come against it, if
He wishes it to stand then it will and it will be Him defending it and not us.

If the message we build our lives around is pulpits or non pulpits, liturgy or
non-liturgy, whatnot or no-whatnot, then we have missed the point and it is a
faulty and shallow premise we have held onto.

So we must preach Christ, exhort Christ, turn to Christ! And when a brother
disagrees with us, give Christ to each other, not personal opinions. Any
engine other than Christ is a poor one and wont get us far at all.
Yours
brittian


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #95 < Previous Digest Next Digest >



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