New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Friday, July 26 2002 Volume 02 : Number 129
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian.
Re: [NTCP] Kierkegaard
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?
Re: [NTCP] Kierkegaard
Re: [NTCP] Re: Every man a theologian
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian
Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian
Re: [NTCP] Supporting elders financially
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?
Re: [NTCP] Supporting elders financially
[NTCP] Re: HC*Talk- Supporting elders financially

Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 09:58:50 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian.

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

>I have a personal experience about light that is darkness. I was raised an
>atheist, and was told I could see all that those foolish christians could
>not. I was told my light, my knowledge was so much greater than theirs!
>THAT is the darkness that one thinks is light.
>
>Also when you think YOUR interpretation of the Scriptures is absolutely
>correct and everyone else is wrong, you are in absolute darkness, for only
>with others can we know the Light... and that Inner Light will keep the
>darkness away. And once you have that Inner Light, you know Him. And as a
>responsible worker for Him, you will also study everything you can about
>Him, drinking that knowledge as if it were delicious water after a walk
>through the desert.
>
>Vanessa from Venezuela
>
Dear Vanessa,

I appreciated your observations with the personal experience of ligt
that is darkness.

Here are a couple of mine on the same subject as I expressed them to a
spiritual daughter:

"Matthew 22: 8-14: "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready,
but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the
highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those
servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many
as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with
guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man
which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how
camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was
speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot,
and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Pretty rough treatment for not being properly attired. By faith, I have
been to the wedding feast, and was properly attired. Then something
went wrong and my garments got defiled. All of a sudden I was on the
outside looking in, and I left to wonder what happened. As I have
continued to think about, it has come down to the eyes. I think what we
are wearing is seen in the eyes.

I believe that the appropriate garment for a wedding feast is "the look
of love". The look of love invites you in, when it is gone you are
locked out. The other look, the look when love is gone or injured, has
many facets to it, but they all are woven together to make a barrier or
curtain, precluding the possibility of intimacy.

The look of expectations, or theology or doctrine or lust or agenda or
injury or disappointment or defensiveness or hostility or devastation or
rejection or insecurity or fear or revulsion or judgment or offendedness
or doubt or suspicion or accusation or evasiveness or self-righteousness
or haughtiness or despair or sadness or woundedness, and on and on and
on the list could go:

Matthew 6:22, 23: "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine
eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye
be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the
light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

I John 1:5-7: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and
declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we
lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

I saw right away that the look had gone from your eye, and that was very
painful. But of equal concern was that, in reaction, the look was gone
from my eye as well, and that had to be my first concern. I never want
to look at you except with the look of love, otherwise, I drive you or
me or both of us into outer darkness. I don't want you in outer
darkness, I want you in the light. From the first negative phone
conversation two weeks ago last Friday until the last email I sent, I
had been struggling to get the look back. The look can't be faked,
because the "The light of the body is the eye..." The eye is the window
into what is really going on inside the body, what we are wearing in the
most important sense. I have the look back!"

The best advice I can give you in response to a number of the questions
you asked tonight, is to "... walk in the light..." As for my part, I
ever remain available to help you do that. I think your present
situation is evidence enough that I am able to do that without betrayal.

I love you with a love which could only have come from above, and what a
joy it is to find it in my heart, and know that you are its object.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 07:06:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico <van3hijos * yahoo>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Kierkegaard

>
> Hi Vanessa,
>
> Are you saying that Christians should only read the Bible?
> I don't want to answer your 'why' question if you didn't really mean
> that.
> :-)
>
> Just curious.
> In the Lamb,
> Stephanie Bennett
>

No definitely, I am NOT saying we should ONLY read the Bible. I am saying
we should only TRUST the Bible, and make sure anything else we read does
not contradict it!

I am also saying that translations are VERY problematic. yesterday I was
reading WOlterstoff on Justice, and he said that there is a problem with
people who think the NT does not speak of justice as important as the OT
does. Well, he said it was because the greek word for justice is
translated usually as 'righteousness' and sometimes other words. Of
course, my spanish Bible ALWAYS uses the word justicia (justice) in these
places. But KJ confuses, because it prefers to use a word that is farther
from a perfect translation.

So notice that by reading OTHER writers, I can learn about the Bible. But
I do not sit there and think "oh, I read this guy and he says this so that
must be the right thing" NO! I get up, research it everywhere I can, read
other writers, and then, have my Bible as the last word. If the bible
doesn't clearly say it (in the original language and meaning) then its
useless.

Vanessa


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Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 12:38:03 -0400
From: "Linkh * bigfoot" <Linkh * worldnet.att>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

Thanks Keith Smith and Dick Scoggins for responses on the apostle issue.

I chatted with Michael Millier, from this list, yesterday.

Michael, as I was, was unsatisfied with the responses to:

II Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you
in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

This would seem to imply to me that some of the signs that indicated someone
was an apostle--at least in the sense that Paul is using in the verse-- are
signs, wonders, and mighty deeds. Maybe there is some other fancy way to
undersand the Greek, but I don't see it.

I know there are plenty of people working out there who do signs and wonders
in their ministry, whether they are apostles or not. But certainly I would
expect that, sometime, an apostle would do signs and wonders.

I seem to recall Keith Smith mentioning a time when God did signs and
wonders through his ministry in England.

I would like to direct some questions to Keith Smith and Dick Scoggins, if
you don't mind, and anyone else who operates in the apostolic ministry that
wishes to answer: Did you do signs before or after you felt called to be an
apostle? Did you have an experience of being sent out by brethren in
accordance with a word from the Spirit like Paul and Barnabas, or like
Timothy may have been with the elders? If so, did signs and wonders occur
after you were sent out like this?

Link Hudson


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


Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 10:16:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico <van3hijos * yahoo>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Kierkegaard

>
> That is why it is important to know what the culture is saying. Should they
> take precedent over Scripture? Of course not. But should they be totally
> ignored?

I never said they should take precedent... I said that without them, the
Scripture cannot be interpreted AT ALL. In other words, if you don't know
your numbers, how can you learn to add or subtract?

Now, I am very interested in why would Paul quote something from the
pagans? Obviously, in the same way I am about to begin teaching children
in jail with what they can understand: war and violence to lead them to
peace and shalom. I don't want them to learn war: I simply start teaching
from there because that is what they know NOW. Then, I work in
mathematics, science, biology, love and Jesus. I always manage to teach
Jesus without even pressuring them, because they always ask: why are you
here? All I need say is jesus sent me, then they want to know everything
about <Jesus and forget the violence that i talk about at first. My
husband is also coming, and he will teach them to abandon violence by
telling of his own time as a gang boss. BUT that doesn't mean he supports
gangs, even if he tells of his past sin, right?

Well, Paul was using what those people understood THEN to teach them. SO
WE must study and understand WHY he would use a pagan phrase or whatever:
because that is what those people understood. If we try to understand it
as if in the 21st century, you'll never get it.

Vanessa


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


Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:31:11 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Re: Every man a theologian

Dan Snyder wrote:

>To use your analogy, I hope I wouldn't get so busy reading letters that I'd
>ignore my wife herself who's standing right at the door!
>
>Dan
>
Dear Dan,

All that you said in this one was so right on, I had to write and say,
"Amen".

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:33:04 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

>I myself don't like to memorize verse numbers, which were not even
>included when the Bible was written. I prefer to quote without having to
>give reference as if in a scientific experiment!! But quoting is necessary
>for those who don't yet understand...
>
Thanks Vanessa. Well said! In this season of my relationship with The
Lord, it seems to me, if we take God seriously, that is, "at His Word",
we read and digest it to the place where it becomes liquid in our
bellies. Then out of our bellies can come rivers of living water, not
just undigested and therefore theoretical sound bites. In short, the
lamb must be roasted over the fire. It cannot be understood or served raw.

I should also say that when it comes out as liquid, there is no
contradiction with what has been written, but if Jesus is our best
example, and I should say that He certainly is, it can look an awful lot
like contradiction, if it is not saturated with the Spirit.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:33:29 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Every man a theologian

Vanessa DiDomenico wrote:

>For example, in the original, presbiteros, elder, simply meant THE OLDEST PEOPLE IN THE GROUP. How did that meaning become other meanings? I don't know and don't really care, for any meaning added after Paul expressed HIS intended meaning is worthless.
>
Dear Vanessa,

I think it got redefined by the work of man's hands energized by
youthful ambition, and I agree that bother are "worthless".

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:36:34 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Supporting elders financially

Linkh * bigfoot <mailto:Linkh * bigfoot> wrote:

>Should apostles work secular jobs to support themselves? Are they allowed
>to?
>
Dear Link,

Thanks for your rather complete article on the subject of financial
support for ministry. This is increasingly a subject which is on my
heart as well, and I have several observations to add to what you have
written.

"Double honor": I think that double honor presupposes such a thing as
single honor, and in this connection I am reminded of the first
commandment with promise: "Honor your father and mother..."

I believe that parents should get single honor, and grandparents should
get double honor. The first honor is the honor due to those who are our
source. It is not meant to be financial, for, as Paul points out, "...
the children do not lay up for the parents, but the parents for the
children."

Grandparents are something else however. they may have arrived at a
season of life when they are no longer able to work with their hands
what which is needed to have..." In short, they may require double
honor, the honor due a source person, as well as financial support, so
that they can be available for the oversight that only one who is no
longer an overdoer can provide. The willingness to be an overseer is the
willingness to stop being an overdoer. This is very very important.

Where elders operating as shepherds is concerned, all grandparents are
parents, but not all parents are grandparents. This is to say that,
shepherds need to look up to find elders/overseers. The present church
system is for pastors to look down to find elders. As Vanessa has
already pointed out, this is worthless, and, may I add, worse than
worthless.

As it is, those who are elders in deed, are not recognized, not even by
themselves. There are no gates, and no elders sitting in gates, and the
manifest City of God or perhaps, better said, the city of God that ought
to be manifest has become desolate as a result of the work of man's hands.

In any given place our heavenly Father wants to superimpose on the
geography of the old creation, (a geography that the people who are
living in darkness can see, but which seem to have completely escaped
the notice of people who are supposedly living in the light.) a new
creation, a creation which is in Jesus Christ, a place where He rules
and dwells. There is only one New creation for any geography of the old.
When we obscure that new creation by superimposing our man made
structures, layer on layer, the result is confusion, and darkness, not
light and clarity. We need to repent of the work of our own hands, and
man made, rather than heaven made elders, are one of the first things we
need to repent about.

I believe that the so called pastoral letters are not pastoral, but
rather apostolic. It is not pastors who should be appointing or ordaing
elders, in every city/church, it is apostles. What we need are authentic
apostles sent by authentic churches. This brings us to the old question,
"What comes first, the chicken or the egg?" I believe that it is past
time that we discern the answer.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 23:04:47 +0200
From: <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

Dear Link and List,

 

To answer links points:

>

> This would seem to imply to me that some of the signs that

> indicated someone

> was an apostle--at least in the sense that Paul is using in the

> verse-- are

> signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.

 

 

> I seem to recall Keith Smith mentioning a time when God did signs and

> wonders through his ministry in England.

>

 

I think I answered this in yesterdays post. I do see signs and wonders in my ministry and have regularly seen them. yet there are times when theyare rare.    

 

 

> I would like to direct some questions to Keith Smith and Dick

> Scoggins, if

> you don't mind, and anyone else who operates in the apostolic

> ministry that

> wishes to answer: Did you do signs before or after you felt

> called to be an

> apostle?

 

  To some extent, but not like what became common after my call.

 

>Did you have an experience of being sent out by brethren in

> accordance with a word from the Spirit like Paul and Barnabas, or like

> Timothy may have been with the elders?

 

Yes, after recieving my call, I shared this with the leaders of my church. They prayed with me and for me, and set me aside for a time of testing my call. At the end of that time I preached at a morning service,at which God's power fell in an increadible way. about 30 were saved and many healed. It was the start of ashort time of revival in that church, which saw it grow from about 180 to over 600 in six months. About a year later the church laid hands on me and sent me out. I have only been back 6 or 7 time since, to tell them what's happenning.  

 

> If so, did signs and

> wonders occur

> after you were sent out like this?

 

After I was sent out the signs and wonders continued, and continue. As I indicated yesterday they occur most strongly when I am moving in my area of authority. Just today, I was called to the house of one of our members who was suffering something like a heart attack, as I arrived. Her son called me to pray for her as she had been complaining of chest pains. When I arrived she was semiconscious and lying on the floor holding her chest. I prayed and and asked the Lord to deliver her from this trial, and immediatly she sat up, totally pain free. She jumped up and set to making me a cup of tea. The ambulance arrived about five minutes later, and examined her,saying that she way perfectly well, and we shouldn't waste their time. This woman is our town clerks wife. I'm sure that the Lord will get some mileage from this, but I will do nothing. It's His work, not mine.

Blessings,

keith


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

Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 07:08:07 EDT
From: Steffasong * aol
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Supporting elders financially

In a message dated 07/25/2002 3:40:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
jferris154 * mac writes:
> When we obscure that new creation by superimposing our man made
> structures, layer on layer, the result is confusion, and darkness, not
> light and clarity.

This is a fine thought, and the sentence that most stood out to me today. We
(mankind and we individuals) ALL do this, and quite consistently,-- not just
our forebearers, or those that live in darkness. In fact, I believe that the
Christian life consists largely of a peeling away of these layers. As this
happens, what is true in the individual life becomes reality in the church,
for what is the church but the gathering of individual believers together to
share in the fellowship of the King?

As we seek the Lord, He is faithful to peel away the layers that obscure,
isn't he? And He is faithful to do so in the church as well! Through the
ages, there has ALWAYS remained a remnant of those who willingly go under the
Surgeon's knife to allow Him to cut away the layers that obscure true
reality.

The revealing of the Son of God within His temple (we living stones) is a
life-long process, one that is exciting, full of pain because it literally
CUTS through the thick relentless soulishness of each of us to reveal the
lovely, shining, reality of Jesus Christ.

When it comes to elders, or any of the other items that so often stand in the
way of the Light of Jesus shining purely and effusively through the church,
we can be sure that God is fully aware and will SEE to it that His Bride is
revealed on the Earth at the exact moment necessary.

I guess what I am saying is that of the many ills that plague the
contemporary church, the greatest may be our own unwillingness to allow the
Spirit of God to lay waste to the layers of self over self that society,
upbringing, and personal pride have heaped upon each of our souls.

Bless you all this fine morning.
Love, in the Lamb,
Stephanie

Stephanie Bennett
Creative Services & Consulting


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Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 13:13:52 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] Re: HC*Talk- Supporting elders financially

Hi ye saints of the Most High,

Somewhere around here is a book by John Milton and one by Roland Allen.
Both argue for unsalaried local Christian workers. My files are starting
to resemble piles, so I say 'somewhere around here ...'

Being the celebrated "pastoral epistles" we tend to eagerly study these
documents in an ecclesiastical state of mind. We tend to think in terms
of church rather than the entire Christian community. That Paul is
naturally addressing the community according to age and gender is
apparent from the outset: 1 Tim. 5:1-2 Rebuke not an elder, but entreat
him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as
mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Note that elders are again compared to youngers in both genders. What
follows should be viewed in that context, but no ... Most commentators
teach that elders in this 1st verse are just old men, later in verse 17,
elders become transformed into church officers. Oh, and those "widows
indeed" are become deaconesses.

We learn in 1 Timothy that "honor" belongs to 3 particular categories of
persons: certain older women who are widows in need, certain older men
who rule and teach, and masters of servants (6:1).

In 5:18 Paul employs a word (misthos) which does not usually mean wage$
but reward. In light of his comments here about the widows, such honor
may well involve financial gifts BUT the context is RELIEF, not a steady
salary. Remember that true religion is to visit (or to supply the needs
of) the fatherless and the widows, according to James. Most of us can
help another financially without paying them a salary. We should.

Doubtless, in 6: 1, the servants who give their masters "all honor" do
not supply them with money or a livelihood.

With respect to Paul's exhortation for elders to work with their own
hands (Acts 20), I cannot see elders drawing entirely from the churches
funds. An occasional gift or honorarium for one elder does indeed make
sense.

I believe that the necessary functions of a local church and community
can be done on a voluntary basis as the saints exercise their gifts. Rom.
12:5-8: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members
one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that
is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the
proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he
that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that
giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he
that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

One dark side of paying pastor-teachers is that many - certainly not all
- - will compromise their convictions little by little, telling the
hearer/donors only what they want to hear. I refuse to believe that those
who are paid to make speeches do not allow the payments to affect the
content of the speeches.

Wall Street, btw, is melting down as we speak because the auditors became
paid consultants who told share-holders and CEO's only what they wanted
to hear.

I would also add that those who are paid to teach on the local level
would likely dominate the teaching and disrupt the participatory ideals
set down in 1 Cor 14, etc. My chief concern is that the folks who desire
to make a business career out of the shepherding work do not stymie the
gifts of others in the process. Remember, "God gives wisdom to all" and
expects that wisdom to be shared.

Principles like Christian liberty and common sense also come into play.
If you see persons serving the Lord in a self-sacrificing way, you are
completely free to assist them or to relieve them and you should - elders
or not, widows or not.

But I digress .... the early house churches not large by todays
standards. They were comprised of "the poor of this world" and were
overseen by a plurality of elders. You do the math. :)

David Anderson

 


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