New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, July 17 2002 Volume 02 : Number 121
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian.
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian. - reply to Vanessa
[NTCP] Re: reply to Vanessa
[NTCP] ntcp archives updated
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian

Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 21:22:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico <van3hijos * yahoo>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian.

Dear Brittian,

I understand your search. I gave up on that type of search 2 or 3 months
after I met the Lord. I never trusted an institution nor large groups of
people trying to call themselves 'church' and tryin to teach me. Only the
Lord directly can teach you, and although He will often use others as
tools for this, you will know when they come from the Lord: they will
NEVER benefit themselves from their work with you if they come to you from
the Lord.

BUT if you really want to meet the Lord, forget all the marketed
strategies. Go out and find someone poor lying on the street, feed them,
eat with them, show them some love... and you will feel the Lord. I work
with street children, and have learned MUCH more about God from them than
I could ever learn from a 'preacher.'

Vanessa from Venezuela

PS: please pray for us... the country is falling apart, we are barely
making payments on everything (my family, not me), my dad just had
peritonitis surgery, and my husband is still jobless. Please pray that my
father's plans to set up a chain of roasted chicken fast food restaurants
will go forward, so husband can have a job, and we can do better! Also,
pray that he give me strength to take advantage the opportunities I have
in the non-profit field, to not fall down when I need to stand in Messiah.


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Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 10:57:31 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian. - reply to Vanessa

Dear Vanessa:
I am glad that you enjoy theology, the written and cataloguing of 'HUMAN'
reasonings concerning 'God' and the universe. I am not adverse to that at
all. In fact out of my over 4,000 books in my library, there are well over
3,000 of them that are theological in one form or another. The issue, and
this is THE issue, is that theology is ABOUT God, rather than KNOWING HIM
PERSONALLY. You can know all you want about someone and never truly know
them personally.

I am a history buff. I know more about Oliver Cromwell and collect all I can
about him and the Puritan revolution in England than any other period in
history. I know about him, but I will never truly know him as he is dead.
Theology is the compilation of data in categories of thought for the
processing of information and understanding on the subject of "God". Our
reasoning is flawed and tainted and biased. At best we only have a "taste"
of what God is truly like and has revealed about Himself.

Apart from a dynamic encounter with the living Christ, all theology is vain
and empty and without a frame of reference or context. We can get so caught
up with knowledge and so puffed up by WHAT we know than WHO we know. What I
am calling for and will NEVER retreat from is that WHO we know is MORE
important than WHAT we know. It is WHO we know that saves us, and not what
we know.

Does that mean that doctrine and theology are not important. No, absolutely
not! But within context, theology should flow OUT of relationship. I have
been involved with many campus ministries and presently live in a town two
world renown universities and one nationally renown community college. I
have been involved in ministry to students and have engaged many in the
intellectual pursuit of God. I would say that ALL of the encounters have had
little fruit until a personal knowledge and salvation in Jesus. Yes, there
is an exchange of intellectual dialogue, and an exchange in information, but
if we really understand Scripture, the Lord is ALREADY at work in them (Rom.
8:28ff) and has made them 'new creatures' in order to believe in the first
place! Apart from that 'new birth' prior to salvation (ordo salutis), a
person cannot believe as they are dead in sin. The last time I checked a
dead person cannot believe and cannot do anything! This is where you can
'peg' me in as a Reformed 'theologian' doctrinally speaking (LOL!).

The point is, theology while important, is not primary. Our relationship
with God is primary. I believe it is when we are in intimate relationship
with the Lord, that the Holy Spirit gives RHEMA, revelation, concerning our
understanding of Bible passages. This is not theology proper, because simply
put, it is divine revelation given at a moment in space and time, and
theology is the human categorizing of doctrine.

I love doctrine and theology, but I guard myself from it's undue influence
in my relationship with Jesus. It is really easy for me to HIDE behind what
I know, rather than enter into even deeper and more intimate relationship
with the Lord Jesus.

Blessings,
Sam


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Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 08:23:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico <van3hijos * yahoo>
Subject: [NTCP] Re: reply to Vanessa

Samuel,
I DO agree with most you say. After all, we only need read Matthew 15:9
(sorry, can't print, my Bible is in spanish!) but it does say that people
honour God in vain, teaching as God's doctrine that which is made by men.

The main problem with doctrine is that: men cannot seem to agree on what
doctrine is right!! I say, LOVE is the ONLY doctrine that cannot be
denied: and love is shown as it says in james, that the only real
christianity is helping those who are helpless, at that time, orphans and
widows. Those who call themselves 'christians' without doing anything for
those who need help, are NOT following God's REAL doctrine. And there is
NOT ONE PERSON in the USA who not being sick or ethnically discriminated
who cannot help a poor person. People say, oh, but i don't have everything
I need yet. But jesus says we need nothing but food and something to
protect us from the environment, such as clothes and a roof over our
heads. We don't need decorations for that home, or latest fashion clothes,
or even new clothes. We need first to give to those who have nothing. I
have very little, not even a refrigerator (God blessed me with an air
conditioner last month... quite a blessing in 100F+ temps), or any other
comfort but a bed. And He blessed me with a warehouse to live in and set
up a community center in it. I have been weak lately, but strength comes
from the Lord...

No doctrine matters much where there is LOVE. And that love can bring
anyone to Christ. The little street children I worked with; I never
preached to them. They simply asked why I wanted to teach them, and for
free. I said Jesus sent me, and they asked to know of Jesus. THAT is how
Jesus really enters the hearts of people.

When I knew the Lord, in Alabama, I used to go to church because they gave
me lunch afterwards, and even dinner and other help. I thought, hey, if
they gonna be stupid and do all this, I gonna take advantage of it. I
don't know if they even remember me, but it was their generosity that
brought me to the Lord. I asked God to show Himself to me later, for I had
been raised atheist, and He did. He helped me understand the Bible, with
little help from others. In fact, I have understood passages from the
Bible more by participating in the culture of street people and extremely
poor people, than from ANY preacher or expert.

BUT, I still LOVE to study theology! That way, when others who think they
are christians but haven't found the way yet, I always have an answer that
can help them some.

LOve,
Vanessa


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Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 11:29:10 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] ntcp archives updated

Hey there all ye house church pioneers,

Your thoughtful posts are now safe on the web. Well, most of them are.
They'll be made available to other Cyberians who will arrive later.
Obviously, this is an ongoing project.

http://world-missions/digests/index.html

Having the digests stored for reference should enable us to refer back to
previous discussions without going back to square one.

I was able, for example, to type in Micheal's name with the word
"miracle" and "quarter" to locate his message concerning his "faith-lift"
encounter with God.

Once you fetch a particular document (daily digest) with a specific word
or phrase, then just use your browser's "FIND" feature to zero in on your
target.

Your email addresses, of course, were removed, but your web addresses
remain. No posts are excluded nor edited.

Jay, you sent in some charts which need to be reformatted. Please forward
them to me and I'll put them in the right place asap. I did not know
where the line breaks were supposed to go.

Continue to send your messages and prayer requests to ntcp in plain text
rather than html format. Feel free to change the subject line of a
response when the content of that thread changes. Thanks.

May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be
acceptable to Him and edifying to others.

pro Rege,

David Anderson


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Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 13:05:03 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian

Sam wrote yesterday:

>I am glad that you enjoy theology, the written and cataloguing of 'HUMAN'
>reasonings concerning 'God' and the universe. I am not adverse to that at
>all. In fact out of my over 4,000 books in my library, there are well over
>3,000 of them that are theological in one form or another. The issue, and
>this is THE issue, is that theology is ABOUT God, rather than KNOWING HIM
>PERSONALLY. You can know all you want about someone and never truly know
>them personally.
>
>I am a history buff. I know more about Oliver Cromwell and collect all I can
>about him and the Puritan revolution in England than any other period in
>history. I know about him, but I will never truly know him as he is dead.
>Theology is the compilation of data in categories of thought for the
>processing of information and understanding on the subject of "God". Our
>reasoning is flawed and tainted and biased. At best we only have a "taste"
>of what God is truly like and has revealed about Himself.

Hi all,

1.) We are in complete agreement that the natural man (unregenerate man)
is incapable of knowing God or even to be truly desirous of knowing Him.
Thus Jesus explained that unless a man is born again he can't SEE the
Kingdom, much less the King. John 3. No one has or will ever reach God by
the merely intellectual pursuits. Amen.

Agreed, let's move beyond.

2.) We are in agreement that believers can and do abuse knowledge,
doctrines, and theology. Done it myself. To some it has surely becomes a
sport rather than a means to an End. Granted.

Let's please move on. Neither of these statements, in my opinion, do in
any way diminish REAL intimate dealings with Him by those who do NOT do
the above. Yet, I have as seen it repeatedly affirmed on this list and
several others. Theology equals blasphemy in the minds of many. It's
another synonym for Phariseeism.

If you think I'm whistling in the dark, people, look at how church
meetings in which "nobody brings a Bible" are glorified in the latest
church planting book from Seedsowers (Gene Edwards' Publishing), reportedly "the only publisher for
the growing house church movement."

This leads me to inquire: Would it be OK to quote the Bible at such a
meeting? Could one refer to it without quoting it, perhaps in a prayer?
Would it be OK to .... bring that new church planting how-to book to the
meeting? Sighhh.

Believe me, I have seen a lot good, constructive dialogue over the years
interrupted by condescending voices who want to explain that really
knowing Jesus excludes knowing anything else. When Paul wrote, btw, that
he knew only Jesus, and him crucified he was certainly speaking
comparatively rather than absolutely. He knew of Jesus resurrected, for
example. He knew all that he wrote and frequently used the phrase "I know
and we know."

So, let's examine the last words in the quoted section above. What is
YOUR term, Sam, for the enormous body of eternal knowledge/truth that God
ALONE has "revealed about Himself" ?????? And why would such information
- - its study and it's storage in the heart, comparing spiritual with
spiritual and excluding all human reasonings, be an impediment to
"knowing Him."

Sorry, I still don't get it, this never-ending "Jesus vs. knowledge"
game. It's like my wife is in a far away place and my postman says to
himself: "Now David doesn't really need this letter from her, why, why he
just needs HER. I'm gonna throw it in the next dumpster with all these
sale papers. It'll be for his own good."

Knowledge, theology, doctrine ain't the problem. Sin is the problem.

My own term, btw, one of them, is theology - the study of God and his
world. The Real Deal, minus useless human reasonings, casting down such
vain imaginations and bringing EVERY THOUGHT captive to Jesus. I think
it's what the apostle had it mind when he charged Timothy "to study to
show yourself approved." Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but my own studies
have only brought me closer into fellowship with the Great Fountainhead
of Truth, whom I love and endeavor to serve on his terms alone.

Sanctify them through thy word, thy word is truth. Jesus speaking to
Jehovah in John 17:17. The Word and the word, together.

David Anderson

 


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