New Testament Church Proliferation Digest

 

Spreading the Gospel via House Churches

 


New Testament Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, June 4 2002 Vol 02 : 098
[NTCP] Athens, Ohio
[NTCP] RE: NTCP history
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
Re: [NTCP] RE: NTCP history
Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 12:33:53 -0400
From: David Anderson
Subject: [NTCP] Athens, Ohio

>I read these posts as often as I can, and pray for God's work to be
>accomplished in all of our neighborhoods. I just have so many other things I
>must juggle and invest time into, that I have never sat down and posted (also
>for fear that once I get involved in a discussion group I tend to get pretty
>addicted to it). Anyway, I agree that things happen when we pray. We have
>because we ask. Conversely, we have not because we ask not. I would ask that
>you pray for the work I am involved with in Athens, Ohio. I moved here last
>August and have recently launched three house churches. The enemy is
>constantly attempting to destroy us and the work we are doing. We need not
>only God's protection, but His grace and power to remain on the offensive in
>our neighborhoods.
>
>Thank you.
>
>Chris Stewart

Praise the Lord for this exciting news, brother.

Tell us more when you can about God's work in Athens, OH.

We rejoice with you!

David Anderson Bristol, TN


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Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 16:50:04 +0000
From: "David Jaggernauth"
Subject: [NTCP] RE: NTCP history

Dear list,

I just received this post which i found very relevant and interesting. Just
thought I'd share it.

David Jaggernauth HANS NIELSEN HAUGE (1771-1824) Received from Winkey Pratney
(used with permission) 27 May 2002

One of the great untold stories of revival in the English-speaking West is that
which happened in Norway as a consequence of a supernatural visitation of God
the Holy Spirit to a young 25 year-old Lutheran, Hans Nielsen Hauge (pronounced
how-gah) from Tune. While out walking in a field, the Holy Spirit fell on him
with such power that he became not only truly converted but called to minister
to his entire nation. Author Alexander Kielland calls him "the greatest son of
Norway." and the Danish author Georg Brandes writes "While Christianity was
introduced to Norway by Olav Trygveson, in reality it came with Hans Neilsen
Hauge". His sermons were passionate and full of fire. He was Spirit-filled man
burning with love to God and to man.

That baptism of the Holy Spirit, 110 years before Asuza Street and so radical
that it shocked the churches of his time led to his being jailed again and
again (nine times) but birthed a spiritual movement that altered an entire
nation. In a ministry lasting less than three decades, God in Hans launched
amidst a nation of only 800,000 people the birth of a movement that resulted
not only in over 1,000 home group churches within the state church (called the
Inner Mission) but also over a thousand businesses and factories that took
Norway from an extended fishing village to a nation with diverse creative
industries. Some of his converts were involved in the drafting of one of the
most Christian constitutions of any nation.

Walking everywhere to minister, he traveled the length of the nation on foot,
always busy under the calling of God, always speaking to someone as he walked,
even constantly knitting as he discipled! Although he could find at first no
publisher in the nation for his books either in Norway or nearby Denmark,
eventually his material was printed, resulting in over the demand for some
200,000 books, with nearly a quarter of the nation learning from his life. His
autobiography is written like a novel, and one of the titles of his books
roughly translated aptly sums up what he did under God: "One Who Makes the Way
Through Hurting Legs." Hans was a true radical: among the shocking innovations
he allowed in those who followed his leadership besides supernatural gifts he
not only allowed unordained people to minister but women to preach. Shockingly
ahead of his time, too supernatural in his beliefs to fit into the structure of
the religious structures of his day, the life of this man was commemorated at
the 200th anniversary of his visitation in 1996 by a grateful nation that
acknowledges that one life that changed a whole nation and made it to this day
one of the highest missionary sending nations in the world.

To this day there remains a national monument in that field commemorating that
Divine event of Holy Spirit visitation.

He had magnificent energy; he spoke 2-4 times a day, wrote some 33 books, many
of several hundred pages, writing multitudes of counseling letters discipling
people constantly about the great questions of life. He visited Denmark in 1800
and again in 1804 to preach the Gospel to some of the more rationalistic
ministers who called his preaching Haugian Poison; on his return from Denmark
in 1804 he was imprisoned and chained and his writings were confiscated. The
story of his persecution is one of the darkest and most disturbing chapters in
the history of Norway. Imprisoned 9 times in the beginning with the worst of
criminals, he said: "I am not the only person who has ended up in prison for
the sake of truth but I cannot keep quiet."

Very often spiritual gifts were manifested in the Haugian revival. In one of
his sermons on Mark 16:14 he speaks about "signs following". There were some
carnal teachers who would have the signs explained away in a rationalistic way;
Hauge explained them spiritually; to drive out demons is to drive the sin out
of people with the preaching of the Gospel and to speak in tongues was to cease
to speak in worldly ways or use bad language."

An inscription on the wall of his home in Tune records his 1796 experience of
the baptism of the Spirit; a transformational breakthrough that changed his
direction and raised his ministry to a new level. In his sermon on the day of
Pentecost Hauge says: "Many things of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the
doctrine of the Holy Spirit are not going on now as in the day of the apostles.
But it is a poor thing to make the power of the grace of God weaker than before
and to doubt His Word, for the last days are now still closer than the time of
Peter who used these words. Why can we not renew them in our time and believe
that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the
first house?" Of the coming of the Holy Spirit: "He fell in such a rich measure
and manifested outward signs and miracles; maybe someone could think the same
could happen now; yes the power of God could do it!...." He does not deny these
manifestations of the Spirit but did consider them extraordinary: "The Lord can
and will give us the gift of His Spirit as before to speak other tongues and
languages. We must not doubt when it is necessary and can serve to His honor or
glory and promote the salvation of the people". The power of the Holy Spirit
manifested in the Haugian revival promoted a longing after more of His power
and life; this manifests in even broader circles as a longing growing stronger
and stronger as you approach the New Century. A priesthood filled with
rationalists had placed a serpents egg in the church and it was hatching. In
spite of strong opposition, the Haugian revival was like springtime in the
winter of a chill spiritual life where rationalism laid a cold hand on
Christianity and revealed itself as a life-threatening sickness in the roots of
its heart.


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Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2002 08:36:14 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Hi folks!

Been really busy last two weeks. We hosted Robert Fitts here in southern
Ontario. Major breakthroughs including 1 former Vineyard, and 1 current
Vinyard, and 1 Alliance church all transitioning to house church networks! Held
conferences in Newmarket (north of Toronto), Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo
(west of Toronto), and in Barrie (north of Toronto). Took Robert to the airport
yesterday morning. Now I am trying to recover from 9 days of on the go! go! go!
But it was all very good. house church networks are exploding up here! It is
incredible what is happening.

On this theme of structure and life, I fall squarely and totally on the LIFE
side without apology. In fact I spoke on this very theme at the conference in
Barrie this past weekend.

It is quite simple for me. Life must come first, and then structure comes and
is implemented in various forms and expressions in order to accomplish tasks.
Structure is a necessary thing in order to accomplish various ministry
activities, and that is the purpose of structure. It is a needed thing, but in
all my years in the church (grew up a missionary/pastor's kid)structure was the
focal point, and life in the Son, was in most cases assumed and not really
articulated or stimulated. It was assumed that you would have an encounter and
whatever happened to you would somehow 'stick' to you and change you. We were
told that you need to 'walk' the Christian life. Nobody taught that you CAN'T
do that! There has only ever been ONE who has done that, and that is Jesus, and
the problem Christians have is in not letting Him do that through their lives!
It was liberating when that revelation came to me. No more striving! Just
letting Jesus express His life IN ME and THROUGH ME!

Structure got in the way, and became a substitute for life. Instead of the
Bible being alive and full of what Jesus desires to see come alive IN us, it
became a guide book, a source book, a book of rules. It became DEATH!

Structure while needed will never accomplish anything. Structure is a vehicle
to an end.

Having said that, structure for us within our network is known as MAX FLEX, or
maximum flexibility. We are led by the Spirit, and we have no structure to our
gatherings. Just as diverse as the personalities that come together, so is our
structure when we gather. Nothing is the same, week in and week out. There is
so much variety that it staggers me! This is simply because we are focussing on
what Jesus is doing in us and through us when we gather, not on making sure we
follow all the right things to do at the right time. Structure serves those who
gather, and those who gather are not bent on fulfilling the structure. We are
not dictated to by the forms and structure, but when we need structure, we use
it, such as organizing a picnic, food, and location, and calling everyone up
and arranging rides. That is structure. Our guide is how we use structure in
our own families. We few the church gathering no differently.

Even when we arrange special times of teaching and training, there is a minimum
of structure, just enough to get done what needs to get done. We count on being
led by the Spirit and having the Lord transform us from the inside out as we
gather together and interact with one another.

The bottom line for me, and I articulated this on the weekend, is that LIFE IS
IN THE SON, and IT IS EXPERIENCED AS CHURCH WHEN ALL WHO GATHER IN HIS NAME ARE
ALSO EXPERIENCING THE INTIMATE LOVE LIFE WITH HIM! Intimacy leads to action.
God changes us from the inside out, and this affects not only our behaviours
but ministry. Ministry is the life flowing out of us in an organized fashion.
When I am consumed and obsessed with seeking the face of the Lord (intimacy),
He will not withold His hands from me (spiritual gifts). Ministry structures
must be flexible enough to be changed, and often in the institutional church
they are not, they are institutionalized as tradition, and often that chokes
out the life that is needing to be expressed.

It was interesting to note that the one church transitioning this past weekend
is having difficulty with some things, and my wife Lori and my own talk did
little to eleviate their concerns. They know they are to be a house church
network, but they are fearful of their people falling into error and heresy.
Along comes Sam and Lori, and we say: "Don't put a leash on the people! Let
them go! Set them free! Put them into the care of the Good Shepherd! He has
promised to lead and guide them by His Spirit, and He has promised that those
who belong to Him will hear His voice and will know the truth and be set free!
Let's take Him at His word! Let's trust Him to establish, build, and sustain
His church!

Let's quit medling, and start coming along side and blessing what the Lord is
doing! Let's equip and then let's release! Release means letting go! Let go and
trust God to do what He has promised! Take your hands off! It is not your
problem! All the problems are His! Build up and encourage and strengthen! Let
us remember Uzzah! Do not touch what is holy! Do not touch what God is doing
through the people! Let the people experience and walk out what is being done
by the Spirit in their lives! See the wonders as you trust the Lord!"

LIFE IN THE SON MUST INITIATE, GUIDE AND DIRECT STRUCTURE. Structure flows out
of need to accomplish tasks, nothing less, nothing more. The bottom line is
being renewed by the heart of God through intimacy and fellowship that is
centred around sitting at the feet of Jesus!

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2002 08:57:55 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick"
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

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

>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."

Well TC, I have to disagree with you here. Absolutely disagree. I am a very
precise theologian and very well read, and I know of what I speak. But, zeal
and passion for truth apart from a HEART on FIRE through INTIMACY with Jesus,
is simply dead and empty religion! Zeal with knowledge did that to me TC! I
knew all the right theology and theological systems and was even on the path to
being a theology professor. I have thrown all that way. It is a filthy dung to
me! Of all the thousands that I have spent on my theological education in
Bible college and seminary, I can probably count $2000 as being of any worth
whatever! I became a man obsessed with objective truth and doctrine and had no
real passion for Jesus the person in my life. Jesus was my saviour and Lord
but in an objective sense. Now He is Saviour, and Lord and friend in the most
deepest subjective intimate sense adn I like being called a mystic. I am one
who craves existential encounters with the Lord. I am one who desires to have
dreams and visions, and record the revelations I receive. I seek to see what is
written in the word and use it as a plumb line for what I have received. TC, I
will NEVER EVER go back to the intellectualism I once knew. It brings death,
not life.
>
>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!

Disagree with you again TC. Where do you think those structures and
organizations come from? The minds of men TC. Corrupt minds obsessed with
organizing and systemizing EVERYTHING! Everything has to be put in a category!
Everything has to make sense! Every t must be crossed and every i dotted! I am
sick of it TC! Just sick of it! Sin has obliterated the minds of men to such a
degree that when man is renewed he still has to put everything in a system.
Systems destroy and control! Systems do not bring life! They are not even good
conduits for life to flow through! Systems choke the very life that people need
to experience and know deep within them.

TC, my heart is for the heart and fire of God through Jesus who lives in me! I
will not hide behind the objective truth of the gospel! People placed their
trust in the physical Jesus when He walked this earth. They saw Him. They sat
with Him. They ate with Him. They journeyed with Him. Yes, He spoke with them,
but HE lived with them, and that is what is recorded in the gospels, HIS LIFE
with us. I will not ever reduce the Gospels as simply an obective record of
His life. We need to experience Him daily. Structures get in the way.

Blessings,

Sam
>
>Blessings to you and yours,
>
>TC


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Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2002 09:13:41 -0400
From: jferris
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Samuel Buick wrote:

>I will not ever reduce the Gospels as simply an obective record of His life.
>We need to experience Him daily. Structures get in the way.

Dear Sam,

You do continue to bless the socks off of me!!

Just as there is such a thing a microeconomics, and macroeconomics, it occurs
to me that there is also microprophetic, and macroprophetic.

It looks like we are speaking here of the macroprophetic. In this connection, I
would like to share a revelation of this past week:

The "iron curtain" is or was a parable. The final one is the "religious
curtain". All the warfare, including terrorism, from the foundation of the
world is shaking down around the religious curtain. All the carnality of world
systems, even religious systems will ultimately gather together around the city
God loves. Those for whom the curtain has been rent in Christ, are on one side,
those for whom it still exists, are on the other. The handwriting is on the
outside of the curtain, but for those who believe, the war is over. Alleluia!!

Yours in Him,

Jay


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Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 11:36:50 -0400
From: David Anderson
Subject: Re: [NTCP] RE: NTCP history

Ho David,

Thank you! What a fascinating account of a little known Christian worker who
influenced many for God and for good! It reminded me of George Fox. Check this
out:

D. Anderson

He (G.Fox) founded a Society, as he called it, which he evidently hoped, and
probably believed, would sometime become universal.[5] The organization in
every aspect recognized the fundamentally spiritual nature of man. Every
individual was to be a vital, organic part of the whole; free, but possessed of
a freedom which had always to be exercised with a view to the interests and
edification of the whole. It was modeled exactly on the conception of Paul's
universal Church of many members, made a unity not from without, but by the
living presence of the One Spirit. All this work of organization was effected
while Fox himself was in the saddle, carrying his message to town after town,
interrupted by long absences in jail and dungeon, and steadily opposed by the
fanatical antinomian elements which had flocked to his standard. It is not the
least mark of his genius that in the face of an almost unparalleled persecution
he left his fifty thousand followers in Great Britain and Ireland formed into a
working and growing body, with equally well-organized meetings in Holland, New
England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas. His
personality and his message had won men from every station of life, and if the
rank and file were from the humbler walks, there were also men and women of
scholarship and fame. Robert Barclay, from the schools of Paris, gave the new
faith its permanent expression in his Apology. William Penn worked its
principles out in a holy experiment in a Christian Commonwealth, and Isaac
Penington, in his brief essays, set forth in rich and varied phrase the
mystical truth which was at the heart of the doctrine.

This is the place for exposition, not for criticism. It requires no searchlight
to reveal in this man the limitations and imperfections which his age and his
own personal peculiarities fixed upon him. He saw in part and he prophesied in
part. But, like his great contemporary, Cromwell, he had a brave sincerity, a
soul absolutely loyal to the highest he saw. The testimony of the Scarborough
jailer is as true as it is unstudied -- "as stiff as a tree and as pure as a
bell." It is fitting that this study of him should close with the words of the
man who knew him best -- William Penn: "I write my knowledge and not report,
and my witness is true, having been with him for weeks and months together on
diverse occasions, and those of the nearest and most exercising nature, by sea
and land, in this country and in foreign countries; and I can say I never saw
him out of his place, or not a match for every service or occasion. For in all
things he acquitted himself like a man, yea, a strong man, a new and
heavenly-minded man; a divine and a naturalist, and all of God Almighty's
making."[6]

[5] "In 1658 there was not a Quaker living who did not believe Quakerism to be
the one only true Church of the living God." -- Hancock's "Peculium," page 8.

[6] From William Penn's "Preface to the Journal of George Fox."


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Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 22:11:16 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Structure vs. Life and the Heart of God

Hey, Sam! Long time no "see!"

Am glad you responded to my post, but must admit I'm a little confused by what
your disagreeing with?

I had written:

>>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."Well TC, I
have to disagree with you here. Absolutely disagree. I am a very precise
theologian and very well read, and I know of what I speak. But, zeal and
passion for truth apart from a HEART on FIRE through INTIMACY with Jesus, is
simply dead and empty religion!Zeal with knowledge did that to me TC! I knew
all the right theology and theological systems and was even on the path to
being a theology professor. I have thrown all that way. It is a filthy dung to
me! Of all the thousands that I have spent on my theological education in
Bible college and seminary, I can probably count $2000 as being of any worth
whatever!I became a man obsessed with objective truth and doctrine and had no
real passion for Jesus the person in my life. Jesus was my savior and Lord but
in an objective sense. Now He is Savior, and Lord and friend in the most
deepest subjective intimate sense adn I like being called a mystic.I am one who
craves existential encounters with the Lord. I am one who desires to have
dreams and visions, and record the revelations I receive. I seek to see what is
written in the word and use it as a plumb line for what I have received. TC, I
will NEVER EVER go back to the intellectualism I once knew. It brings death,
not life.Disagree with you again TC. Where do you think those structures and
organizations come from? The minds of men TC. Corrupt minds obsessed with
organizing and systemizing EVERYTHING! Everything has to be put in a category!
Everything has to make sense! Every t must be crossed and every i dotted! I am
sick of it TC! Just sick of it! Sin has obliterated the minds of men to such a
degree that when man is renewed he still has to put everything in a system.
Systems destroy and control! Systems do not bring life! They are not even good
conduits for life to flow through! Systems choke the very life that people need
to experience and know deep within them.TC, my heart is for the heart and fire
of God through Jesus who lives in me! I will not hide behind the objective
truth of the gospel!People placed their trust in the physical Jesus when He
walked this earth. They saw Him. They sat with Him. They ate with Him. They
journeyed with Him. Yes, He spoke with them, but HE lived with them, and that
is what is recorded in the gospels, HIS LIFE with us. I will not ever reduce
the Gospels as simply an obective record of His life. We need to experience
Him daily. Structures get in the way.Hey, Sam! Long time no "see!"

Am glad you responded to my post, but must admit I'm a little confused by what
your disagreeing with?

I had written:

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."

You wrote:

Well TC, I have to disagree with you here. &nbsp;Absolutely disagree. I am a
very precise theologian and very well read, and I know of what I speak. But,
zeal and passion for truth apart from a HEART on FIRE through INTIMACY with
Jesus, is simply dead and empty religion!

Did I not write that one cannot put the rational and intellectual over Christ?
Even passionate and emotional rationality and intellectualism cannot be exalted
over the person of Jesus. Again, orthodoxy orthoparaxy.

Zeal with knowledge did that to me TC! &nbsp;I knew all the right theology and
theological systems and was even on the path to being a theology professor. I
have thrown all that way. It is a filthy dung to me! &nbsp;Of all the thousands
that I have spent on my theological education in Bible college and seminary, I
can probably count $2000 as being of any worth whatever!

Hmmm. I would say it was zeal without knowledge, Sam. All that studying should
have led you to the One studied, as the power of the Spirit is in the message
of the Gospel, in the Scriptures themselves. It sounds, brother, like you built
a sand castle on intellectual knowledge and rationalism instead of Christ --
what you knew about Him. This is actually what I condemned in my post, i.e.,
"dead" orthodoxy.

I became a man obsessed with objective truth and doctrine and had no real
passion for Jesus the person in my life. &nbsp;Jesus was my savior and Lord but
in an objective sense. Now He is Savior, and Lord and friend in the most
deepest subjective intimate sense adn I like being called a mystic.

To each their own, Sam! I think it's a bad thing to get caught up in the means
rather than the end as well! "Objective truth and doctrine" only serve to guide
us to the person of Christ and the experience of new life, justification, and
sanctification. Of course there is a mysticism that runs thru the life of every
believer! What I sadly have observed is a mysticism based solely on subjective
emotions, radical individualism, and an actual antipathy toward Scriptures
informing emotional response.

I am one who craves existential encounters with the Lord. I am one who desires
to have dreams and visions, and record the revelations I receive. I seek to see
what is written in the word and use it as a plumb line for what I have
received. &nbsp;TC, I will NEVER EVER go back to the intellectualism I once
knew. &nbsp;It brings death, not life.

As I am as well, Sam. Please, for your sake, continue to use that "plum line"
outside of yourself to judge the inner dreams and visions and revelations you
receive. And I agree with you (and I think you will find that I really do
affirm what you are saying if you reread my latest posts), I think we must stay
away from the false "orthodoxy" based solely on rationality and intellect.

As to what you have written about systems and organizations:

Disagree with you again TC. &nbsp;Where do you think those structures and
organizations come from? The minds of men TC. Corrupt minds obsessed with
organizing and systemizing EVERYTHING! &nbsp;Everything has to be put in a
category! Everything has to make sense! Every t must be crossed and every i
dotted! &nbsp;I am sick of it TC! Just sick of it! Sin has obliterated the
minds of men to such a degree that when man is renewed he still has to put
everything in a system. &nbsp;Systems destroy and control! Systems do not bring
life! They are not even good conduits for life to flow through! Systems choke
the very life that people need to experience and know deep within them.

Again, I believe that this is what I have just said. It is the sin of men and
women that create the systems and the structures that you hate so much. It is
not the structures and organizations that caused them to sin against their
wills! Do these structures contribute to obscuring the knowledge of Christ and
the path we walk? Sure! But most are willing prisoners, as I have wrote in my
last post to Stephanie. I think the whole nonprofit corporation organization
and structure does more harm than good, and one is hard pressed to justify it
in the Scripture. The church has been very compromised by the embracing of
modernism's Positivism.

Yet... You seem to believe that any organization is bad. This is an old topic
between us Sam, and you already know that I think you have thrown the baby out
with the bathwater. Some of the most mature, lively men and women of God that I
have met personally has existed within the institutional church organization
and structure. I will repeat to you what I have said to Stephanie: this type of
language smacks of pride and elitism. All those immature, choked, lifeless
Christians in the institutional church compared to the mature, lively, and
vibrant believers in the house church! Although I do not believe this is what
you believe, it could be construed as what you are actually saying.

TC, my heart is for the heart and fire of God through Jesus who lives in me! I
will not hide behind the objective truth of the gospel!

By all means never, ever, hide! instead, use the objective truth of the Gospel
as a foundation for a relationship and heart on fire with the crucified and
rises One! I don't know about you, but it gives me confidence in witnessing to
others knowing that my faith rests on truth, and in the that truth I need not
be afraid of any world view or intimidated by other religions. I believe one of
the psalmists wrote that a "great thought or truth has stirred my heart..."
(can't remember where that one's at off the top of my head)

People placed their trust in the physical Jesus when He walked this earth.
&nbsp;They saw Him. They sat with Him. &nbsp;They ate with Him. They journeyed
with Him. Yes, He spoke with them, but HE lived with them, and that is what is
recorded in the gospels, HIS LIFE with us. &nbsp;I will not ever reduce the
Gospels as simply an obective record of His life. &nbsp;We need to experience
Him daily. &nbsp;Structures get in the way.

I would say here that you have hit the center, the core, of all we have been
talking about. Trust, or faith, is everything, is it not? John in chapter three
says that belief or unbelief is how each one who has ever lived will be judged
by God. The apostles trusted Him who they saw and physically interacted with.
We believe and trust in One in whom we have never seen. But we all, they in the
beginning and we now, trusted Him.

And by the way, Sam, I follow the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer in my
personal devotions, the daily offices. It is very structured. And brother, I
meet with Jesus every time I do them, intellectually and emotionally! :o) I
find that the structure gave me discipline, and immersed me in the Word. And if
you will reread my post, I believe that you will find I condemn a "dead"
orthodoxy as much as a mindless mysticism.

It was great to hear from you, Sam, and I pray that all is well with you
physically. I also pray that God will continue to bless you, your family, and
the house church! Blessings,

TC


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #98

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