New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, June 2 2002 Vol 02 : 096
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God
Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies
[NTCP] Re: Structure vs. Life
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God
[NTCP] Weekly Prayer Needs

Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:05:51 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

James,

Thought I'd comment briefly on one of your points in your reply to Michael
about pulpits. You wrote:

>>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.James,

Thought I'd comment briefly on one of your points in your reply to Michael
about pulpits. You wrote:

>>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.

Don't be so sure, Jim, that structures or organization are such bad things.
These things flow from the hearts and minds of men. Believe me, and I
understand that you would probably say this as well, people don't need the help
of external environments to express their inner depravity. All those folks
perished mostly because of faith, or lack of it -- I doubt that the blame can
be put on organization and structure.

The Inquisition was more a result of politics than theology, and Papal
infallibility came about as the Roman Catholic response to Modernity and
Enlightenment science in the 1800s. Just as many heresies and ecclesiastical
abuses can happen with a small group of people on their knees in a square as in
a cathedral -- from the Anabaptists in Munster during the Reformation to the
denial of the historical accuracy of the birth, death, and resurrection of
Christ by the German and English Pietists that gave birth to modern higher
textual criticism in the beginning of the 20th century.

IMPO, it is what the group believes that will determine the actions they take,
regardless of structure. C. S. Lewis once said that he wouldn't leave a person
who proclaimed themselves to be morally subjective alone with the silver --
what is believed can always be traced by behavior. That is why I believe the
Gospel to be the unifying element between Christians rather than structure or
organization. With right theology comes a defense against heresies and abuses.
You have brought up negatives regarding the organization of the institutional
church but have not mentioned the potential heresies and abuses that can
happen in the house church because of the therapeutic and existential emphasis
they have over the centrality of the cross.

People are damned or saved by faith or lack of it, not on how they do church.

Blessings, Jim.

TC


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:34:21 EDT
From: Steffasong
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God


In a message dated 05/31/2002 9:07:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
TheologusCrucis writes:
>With right theology comes a defense against heresies and abuses 'morning TC,
>Jim, and all interested posters.

I do believe we are nearing the core of the matter, however the highlighted
statement above begs to be addressed.

TC, while I am not one to lay the full weight of blame on the structure of the
church through the ages, there is much reason to look more closely. Structure
and hierarchy (ie, the laying aside of the (scriptural) equal priesthood of the
believer) choke the life out of the body and secure a sure death. For this
reason I must take issue with your statement about right theology.

Countless ministries and people have espoused 'right theology' and manhandled
the people of God. Why? Because they are lacking God's heart.

How do we 'get' God's heart? It seems to me more an issue of fellowshiping
with God than a matter of what a group believes.

If we are in fellowship with the Lord, love will abound. We cannot be in His
Presence for long without His essence (ie., Love: -- 1 Jn. 4 among other
verses) setting the tone for relationships among us. It is the lack of love in
the body throughout the ages that has caused stench of death to prevail instead
of the aroma of life.

We can only get that from hanging around the Author of love. The Body 'works'
when an overflow of that Fellowship takes greater precendence than theology,
structure, or style.

It's fellowship with GOD, intimacy with our King, not necessarily structure or
the lack, that matters most.

- -- A couple of thoughts thrown into the pot, . . .

Your sister in the Lamb, Stephanie Bennett Stephanie Bennett Creative Services
& Consulting Marketing Solutions for the 21st Century steffasong -
--part1_16e.e622f5e.2a28d5dd_boundary Content-Type: text/html;
charset="US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

In a message dated 05/31/2002 9:07:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
TheologusCrucis writes:


With right theology comes a defense against heresies and abuses

'morning TC, Jim, and all interested posters.

I do believe we are nearing the core of the matter, however the highlighted
statement above begs to be addressed.

TC, while I am not one to lay the full weight of blame on the structure of the
church through the ages, there is much reason to look more closely. Structure
and hierarchy (ie, the laying aside of the (scriptural) equal priesthood of the
believer) choke the life out of the body and secure a sure death. For this
reason I must take issue with your statement about right theology.

Countless ministries and people have espoused 'right theology' and manhandled
the people of God. Why? Because they are lacking God's heart.

How do we 'get' God's heart? It seems to me more an issue of fellowshiping
with God than a matter of what a group believes.

If we are in fellowship with the Lord, love will abound. We cannot be in His
Presence for long without His essence (ie., Love: -- 1 Jn. 4 among other
verses) setting the tone for relationships among us. It is the lack of love in
the body throughout the ages that has caused stench of death to prevail instead
of the aroma of life.

We can only get that from hanging around the Author of love. The Body 'works'
when an overflow of that Fellowship takes greater precendence than theology,
structure, or style.

It's fellowship with GOD, intimacy with our King, not necessarily structure or
the lack, that matters most.

- -- A couple of thoughts thrown into the pot, . . .

Your sister in the Lamb, Stephanie Bennett


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:38:32 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life

TheologusCrucis wrote:

>People are damned or saved by faith or lack of it, not on how they do church.

Dear TC,

"How they do church", however, may provide some evidence of the quality of
their salvation. "... How much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved
by His life!"

Yours in Him,

Jay


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:45:31 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Steffasong wrote:

>It's fellowship with GOD, intimacy with our King, not necessarily structure or
>the lack, that matters most.

Dear Stephanie,

A word straight out of Heaven!

As for my part, I would much rather others have a relationship with me rather
than a Jayology. As I have experienced the problem, the ology of me is
invariably in error. How much more impossible to comprehand, and communicate is
the heart of our Heavenly Father!

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 11:24:34 -0400
From: "Dan Beaty"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Gnostic tendencies

TC, Jay, Vanessa, John, Dan S. and others on this thread. I hope everyone on
both sides can learn something from this discussion. I certainly hope to, if I
can absorb it all.

TC wrote:

As a Baby Boomer with Pentecostal roots myself, I have at times been caught up
in "Woodstock Christianity," as you have put it. I still deal with people who
often say that God told them to do things that are clearly not His will and so
on.

But on the other hand, many attacks against the mystical/supernatural aspects
of Christianity are unfair at the least or even clearly wrong. For the most
part, the Great Awakening and the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements of this
century have furthered the purpose of God in the earth. Perhaps we could have
been even more effective if we had spent more time listening to teachers like
Ravi Zacharius, but I can testify that there are literally thousands of
Christians who believe in both the experiencing of God's supernatural power and
in anchoring their faith in His eternal Word.

Jesus told some people, "you do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor
the power of God."

I submit that the touch of His Mighty Hand, as experienced by countless
generations who have trusted in Him, is integral to fully knowing the
Scriptures, which were supernaturally authored by His breath upon holy men of
old.

Again, why does it have to be either/or? Knowledge vs experience? Spirit vs
Truth?

Maybe because both sides, particularly in the charismatic debate, are too busy
proving the other wrong to listen. More charismatics are questioning the
excesses today than you realize, but sorry to say some are now beginning to
doubt the validity of all spiritual experiences.

Somehow we must root out the threat of Gnosticism without putting out the flame
of the Spirit-filled life as the early Catholics had done. The differences of
the Holy Spirits workings among us must and will co-exist when His Lordship is
manifested among us.

Dan Beaty Columbus, Ohio USA

http://www.livingtruth.com


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:54:39 -0700
From: Dan Snyder
Subject: [NTCP] Re: Structure vs. Life

"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).
Michael, I'm glad you brought this up because it's a good illustration

The OT meetings had the law as their center. It was quite normal to have a
teacher teach the others about the law. The focus of such a gathering was the
law.

But when our Lord Jesus resurrected and became the Life-giving Spirit (1 Cor.
15:45) the gatherings of God's people take a radical turn... no longer is the
law (which pointed to Christ) the center... but now Christ Himself (as the
Spirit actually living in His believers) has become the center, the focus.

Paul saw this... hence his exhortation for the "each one has" church life. Each
one has a portion of Christ that needs to be shared.

Can the Spirit function through one man? Of course He can... we see this
sometimes in gospel meetings, or ministry meetings.... but for the meetings of
a local church the optimum environment is one where "each one has"... and where
each one has the freedom to function... that way the Lord Himself has the
freedom to speak forth from all of His members, not just a few.

Consider how it would be if only 5% or 10% of our human body functioned...
terrible.

I believe the reason some of us are waging a struggle against the "principle of
the pulpit" is so that the Lord may bring His people out of the clergy-laity
system and gain an environment in the local churches where ALL His members can
enjoy the full release of their function - so that in reality the Body can
build itself up in love and the Bride can make herself ready.

That way He can come back.

I believe that's our burden... not just to find a "correct way"... but to bring
our Lord back.

Praise Him!

Dan


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Date: Sat, 01 Jun 2002 00:24:47 +0000
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Stephanie said:

>>I do believe we are nearing the core of the matter, however the highlighted
>statement above begs to be addressed.
>
>TC, while I am not one to lay the full weight of blame on the structure of the
>church through the ages, there is much reason to look more closely. Structure
>and hierarchy (ie, the laying aside of the (scriptural) equal priesthood of
>the believer) choke the life out of the body and secure a sure death. For
>this reason I must take issue with your statement about right theology.
>
>Countless ministries and people have espoused 'right theology' and manhandled
>the people of God. Why? Because they are lacking God's heart.
>
>How do we 'get' God's heart? It seems to me more an issue of fellowshiping
>with God than a matter of what a group believes.
>
>If we are in fellowship with the Lord, love will abound. We cannot be in His
>Presence for long without His essence (ie., Love: -- 1 Jn. 4 among other
>verses) setting the tone for relationships among us. It is the lack of love
>in the body throughout the ages that has caused stench of death to prevail
>instead of the aroma of life.
>
>We can only get that from hanging around the Author of love. The Body 'works'
>when an overflow of that Fellowship takes greater precendence than theology,
>structure, or style.
>
>It's fellowship with GOD, intimacy with our King, not necessarily structure or
>the lack, that matters most.
>

I couldnt say it any better than this Steff.

THere is a scripure that says, How can you love your father in heaven who you
cant see if you cant love your brother who you can see, (or something to that
effect)

Modern Christianity has developed a system that ignores this statement. The
curent system has developed a Church culture where people spend their entire
lifetime in a congregation and only know their brethren from seeing the back of
their heads, in the pews.

The quality of our fellowship with each other reflects our relationship or
worship to God.

You really cant say you are worshipping God if you do not take the time to look
out for your brethren. If your system allows you to keep a safe distance from
others so they dont "intrude into your space" then something is wrong with it
i.e. Sunday morning "church". Christianity is relationship is family is
community.

As far as I can see, the modern structure does not promote the above, there is
absolutely no way I can return to the system I was delivered from. There is
absoloutely no life in it for me and I cannot in any right conscience bring
someone to the Lord and stick them into that system. These words may sound
harsh to some but my convictions have become so deep for many reasons which I
cannot go into here. Many people may be offended if I say some of the things
God has shown us. I cannot defend a system that is corrupt.

David Jaggernauth.


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Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 22:46:33 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

David Jaggernauth wrote:

>As far as I can see, the modern structure does not promote the above, there is
>absolutely no way I can return to the system I was delivered from. There is
>absoloutely no life in it for me and I cannot in any right conscience bring
>someone to the Lord and stick them into that system. These words may sound
>harsh to some but my convictions have become so deep for many reasons which I
>cannot go into here. Many people may be offended if I say some of the things
>God has shown us. I cannot defend a system that is corrupt.

Dear David,

They say that the Church in the West has actually diminished in size over the
past ten years, More have died off then have been brought to the Lord. Unless I
miss my guess, the real Church is composed more of those who have dropped out
of religion due to the manhandling, than of those who remain in the religious
system. The problem is that they are deeply wounded, and Christ was never
alienated, he was always redemptive.

May the grace of God be abundantly yours in the midst of your perception as to
our present realities, never losing from sight that "reality is found in
Christ."

Yours in Him!

Jay


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Date: Sat, 1 Jun 2002 00:56:34 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Stephanie,

Hello! Blessings this fine morning!

We in the West are used to distinguishing between "head knowledge" and "heart
knowledge." We are very used to people believing one thing on a rational level,
and feeling at the emotional level something altogether different.

But Christianity knows no such dichotomy! Orthodox orthopraxy or it isn't
orthodoxy. Again I will stress the necessity of Christian wholeness, of "heart"
and mind both equally offered to God. Dead orthodoxy, a term which to me seems
to be an oxymoron, comes when the rational and intellectual is exalted above
Christ. Zeal without knowledge is the result of existential mysticism over the
intellect. Both, again to me, would be considered "bad theology."

I stand by the saying that sin comes from the heart and minds of men and women
and not the organizations and structures, or the environments, they produce.
May we all, Stephanie, have keen minds and hearts on fire for the Gospel of
Jesus the Messiah!

Blessings to you and yours,

TC


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


Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2002 06:45:25 -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: 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: 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

- ----

05/31/02: This Sunday I will be going to the local jail, and will be speaking
to the women. I would like some suggestions on what we should read from the
Bible, how I can give them hope. I also ask you all to pray for this work...

Vanessa DiDomenico

- ----

06:19 6/2/02: I thank my heavenly father for the faithful prayers of the saints
on this list and the many others he has put in my life. May God bless you all.
Tom is doing much better now. His doctor has been changed ( and that is for the
good). There has been a big improvement since Mother's Day. Infact....just two
days ago he was transferred to a PMI facility that is very good. They know how
to help Tom. He has been there before. Please pray for continued healing of
Tom's mind, and for and healing for our souls and body of our whole family as
well. but most of all for revival of our spirits. I desire the Lord's direction
in all areas of our life, that he be truly Lord of our life and that we trust
him with everything. There is still no change in either one of Tom's parents.
Please lift them up in prayer. Gene for blood count that could turn to
leukemia, and Jean for her badly needed kidney transplant and spots on her
transplanted lung. A special thank you to my sister in Christ from Northeast,
Tennessee for another encouraging letter. I love your spirit. May God bless
you.

Debbie Kline Thanks for your faithful support.

- -- Richard Wright on 06/02/2002

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


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