New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Friday, August 16 2002 Volume 02 : Number 142
Re: [NTCP] Stabs at explaining the Trinity
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?
Re: [NTCP] Ancient Apostolic Women
Re: [NTCP] Male and Female Roles in the Church
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?
Re: [NTCP] Getting aquainted - Link and Jay's comments on Trinitarianism
Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 17:17:48 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Stabs at explaining the Trinity

Link H. wrote:

> Anyway, Michael can explain this a
> lot better than I can. Maybe we could
> talk him into sharing his explanation.
> Michael, do you have anything
> already on file you could post?

As you might imagine this is a hot topic where I live (one of our
elders was once put on trial by the Israeli Messianic community for heresy
on this topic. He was exonerated), so I offer this to you all as the
bullioned down version of a series of technical studies. Enjoy all the
nifty little spellings (Yeshua = Jesus; G-d = God, etc.). I wrote it for
Jews to whom it might be offensive for me to write Jesus and God. I trust
no one on this list will be put out by either the terms or the concepts.

IN WHAT SENSE IS YESHUA G-D?

Nowhere in the Bible do I see, "Thou shalt believe in the Trinity" as
a prerequisite to becoming a follower of Messiah. I see "Believe on the
Lord Yeshua the Messiah and you will be saved" (Acts 16:6); I see " ...
confess with your mouth ... believe in your heart ..." (Rom. 10:9,10); I see
"Repent and be baptised ... for the remission of sins ... " (Acts 2:38); but
nothing requiring belief in the Trinity. HOWEVER, I see this verse: "Pay
close attention to yourself and to your teaching; CONTINUE in these things,
for in doing this you will SAVE both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim.
4:16). And also: "There are some things in them [Paul's teachings] hard to
understand, which the ignorant and unstable TWIST to their own DESTRUCTION,
as they do the other scriptures" (2 Pet. 3:16). By these verses and others
we learn that should someone RESIST sound biblical doctrine once he/she has
decided to follow Yeshua, it still has a bearing on his/her salvation. Or
perhaps exposes that he/she wasn't saved in the first place. However, my
experience is that most people have problems with the Triunity of G-d
because it is presented to them in a *totally irrational way*: "Yeshua is
G-d," when they know he is called the SON of G-d. "The Spirit is G-d," when
they know He was SENT by the F-ther. People instinctively resist this
formulation because it appears illogical. But it is neither unreasonable
nor completely beyond human ability to understand the *basics* about the
Triunity of G-d. And it is important to explain this important doctrine to
people in ways that demonstrate that it is not illogical. Let me
illustrate:

Q. Can a thing be both A and, at the same time or in the same sense,
B? Can a square ever be a circle-- at the same time it is a square? Can a
car be both completely blue AND completely orange at the same time or in the
same sense? Can a person be absolutely right AND at the same time
absolutely wrong? Can Yeshua be G-d's son AND at the same time or in the
same sense be G-d?
A. NO!!!!! And most people intuitively know this. It's only
logical.

Q. Is G-d logical?
A. YES!!!! Logic is merely a reflection of how G-d Himself thinks.
And humans were made in His image.

"In the beginning was the WORD (LOGOS-- from which, by the way, we get the
word LOGIC) and the WORD (LOGOS) was with G-D and the WORD was G-D" (Jn.
1:1).

Even a person who argues that G-d is not logical, nor logically
perceived (... and many a Christian trying to defend the Trinity says this)
has to use logic to try and prove his/her point that logic is not needed to
experience or understand G-d. However, logic is like the air we breath; we
can deny we need air, but it takes air to vocalize that denial or even to
live in order to make that denial some other way. So it is with logic. We
ultimately can't escape it. It is woven by G-d into the fabric of reality
because it reflects what G-d is like. G-d is logical.
In the case of most objections to the Trinity, people are just being
logical. They're reflecting G-d's image. And so were the early Church
fathers who formulated *from Scripture* the doctrines of Messiah's divinity
and of the Triunity of G-d. So what did they say? They understood the
Bible to be teaching that the Son of G-d is not G-d the F-ther, the F-ther
is not the Holy Spirit, the Spirit is not the Son, etc. That makes sense,
doesn't it? I mean, if Yeshua were the F-ther, then who was he praying to
when he said, "F-ther forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Lk.
23:34)? Himself ?!?! The Church fathers also saw the Bible teaching that
the F-ther is G-d, the Son is G-d, and the Holy Spirit is G-d, all worthy of
the Divine Name (Isa. 48:12-16; Mat. 28:19; Jn. 8:58, 59; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18).
"But wait a minute," you may be saying, "I thought the Bible taught there is
only one G-d." And you would be right (Deut. 6:4; Mk. 12:29; Jms. 2:19).
Were the Church fathers therefore being illogical?

Let me show you the earliest allusion to the Triunity of G-d in the
Bible:

"In the beginning G-D created the heavens and the earth. The earth was
without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the
SPIRIT of G-d was hovering over the face of the waters. Then G-d SAID ... "
(Gen. 1:1-3).

The first two are easy to identify: G-D (presumably the F-ther) and
the SPIRIT. But what/who is this SAID? Answer: The WORD of G-d (Jn. 1:1--
notice the similarity between John's wording at the beginning of his Gospel
and Gen. 1:1; he did that on purpose). Let's just focus on the Son (also
called the WORD) of G-d; we'll talk about his relationship to the F-ther,
but leave out explaining the Spirit at present. If we get Messiah's
divinity down, the Spirit's relationship to the F-ther and the Son will be
easier to digest.
Now our question is: How can G-d be THREE and at the same time ONE?
That sounds illogical (and is) if you think that the Church's teaching is
that G-d is THREE in the *same sense* that He is ONE. But look back to Gen.
1:3. "Then G-d said ... ". So the Word of G-d has a SOURCE. G-d. It
(He) originated in the mind of G-d and issued forth when G-d spoke, just
like your words originate in your mind and issue forth when you speak. Now
think with me. Did G-d (the F-ther) have a source? No, He always existed
(Deut. 33:27; 1 Tim. 1:17). Did the Word (the Son) of G-d have a source?
Without a doubt. Yes. Then does that mean there was a time when the Word
of G-d did not exist? Only IF there was a time when G-d did not think
thoughts or speak words. In other words "NO". The Word of G-d is eternally
existent, but He is not SELF-existent. Rather He is in a contingent
(dependent) relationship to the F-ther (Jn. 1:1; Jn. 14:28; 1 Cor. 11:3).
You with me? The Son of G-d exists eternally, but only because He has His
origin in the makeup of G-d. He has issued forth (emanated) from the F-ther
ETERNALLY. The Son of G-d was not created, but eternally existed as an
extention of the F-ther's essence. Thoughts. Words. Even though the Word
existed eternally with G-d, He is not G-d the F-ther. He is nonetheless
divine because He is NOT part of the creation. "All things were made
through Him ["Then G-d SAID ... "-- Gen. 1:3], and without Him nothing was
made that was made" (Jn. 1:3; also Col. 1:16, 17). The Son is (so to speak)
a sub-division of G-d, himself worthy of worship (Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:13).
However, the Word was made flesh (Jn. 1:14) to point us to the F-ther. The
F-ther was NOT made flesh. To look at Yeshua back then was to see exactly
what G-d was/is like (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). But, Yeshua is not
an end in himself. He is our way to G-d (Jn. 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 7:25).
It is G-d the F-ther who is the ultimate source and goal of all things (Rom.
11:36). Including (in a certain sense) Messiah himself (Jn. 16:28; 1 Cor.
15:28).

So let's review:
1. It sounds *illogical* to say that Yeshua is G-d (even though in a very
real way he is) because most people hear, "The Son = the F-ther". And
that's what many in the Church believe. And it's *wrong*.

2. Messiah, though not created, has his origin in G-d. That's why he's
called the Son. G-d, on the other hand, has His origin in no one. He is
self-existent. That's why He is called the F-ther. The Son came/comes
forth from the F-ther.

3. Therefore it is NOT illogical to believe that Messiah is G-d *IF* we are
clear that we do not mean that he is G-d in the same sense as we say the
F-ther is G-d. The Son is G-d because he has always existed with the F-ther
and has his origin in a unique way in the One True G-d (Jn. 1:18). But the
two are not the same person. The Word (Son) is a sub-division of G-d,
emanates from Him, is not part of the creation, and is therefore divine. In
that way we can say Yeshua is G-d. This view, rightly classified as
monotheism, is the historic Christian position.

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 11:45:04 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

Hi!

Great post!

You said:

>From: CWOWI * aol
> To me, Junia is clearly female, and yes, there was a council in 3--
>something where the bishops changed the text to female, even removing
>inscriptions off gravestones (in Egypt) of female bishops and
>apostles...I'll
>find the source for that, I've seen pictures of the graves...but even if
>history and the Word were ambiguous, you need to step back and see the big
>picture of what God has done and is doing...clearly women are in all the
>offices...
>
>Anyway, that's my 2 cents...I enjoy being in the loop, and honest debate is
>great.
>John Fenn

Here is an article that coroborates your argument.

<http://www.womanpriest/traditio/torjesn2.htm>

I agree with you John. But, like a lot of debates, I am sick of it all. I
have appointed female elders and I will not cease from doing so either. I
have also seen the apostolic gifting and all the five ministry gifts
manifest most wonderfully in women.

In fact two weeks ago we went through a very thorough gifts inventory, and
some of the most gift "pastors" were the women!!! Even they were astounded
that this was their leaning and gifting.

The church has grown as much as it has in China because of WOMEN in
leadership planting churches in an apostolic and prophetic manner! Why are
we squabbling! The facts speak for the themselves, WOMEN ARE EQUAL TO MEN in
the Body of Christ. If they are equal in salvation, then they are equal in
the BENEFITS of salvation which include all the gifts. Gal. 2: makes it
clear there is neither Greek, nor Jew, nor male nor female!

I had one man who went toe to toe with me over this very issue just a month
ago. He is also the same man who refused to have Robert Fitts come and
minister to his HC, simply because Robert believed in ALL the gifts, and
believed in the five fold ministry and in appointing elders in every city.
I could not believe such a narrow and biased understanding of Scripture.

Blessings,

Sam


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Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 12:02:08 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Ancient Apostolic Women

Hi!

I want to pass on an excellent quote.

Sam

Here is a quote from the article I mentioned previously about apostolic
women:

One of the earliest leadership roles was that of
missionary--evangelist--apostle. For the earliest period there is no stable
terminology for this role, which included teaching, preaching, and sometimes
prophesying. Christian missionaries, women and men, followed in the
footsteps of philosophers, prophets, traveling sorcerers, and itinerant
preachers, who carried new religious ideas from the East to the urban
centers of Greek and Roman culture. Sch¸ssler Fiorenza identifies Paul's
ìco--workersî who were evangelizing and teaching as such itinerant
missionaries: Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis, who are mentioned in
his letter to the Romans; and Euodia and Syntyche whom he greets in his
letter to the Philippians 16 The work of the itinerant evangelist could be
dangerous; a popular outcry in a strange city could provoke an intervention
by the local authorities, and an evangelist could find herself or himself in
prison. In fact, it was in prison that Paul met the famous woman evangelist
Junia, whom he called (along with her husband) ìforemost among the
apostles.17 Three centuries later John Chrysostom held up this Junia as an
apostolic model for his womËn parishioners (Homilies on Romans 31.2).
Women and men traveled together as missionary couples, Prisca and Aquila,
moving from Rome to Corinth, and Junia and Andronicus, traveling from Tarsus
to Antioch, then to Rome. Philologos and Julia, and Nereus and his sister,
mentioned in Paul's 1etter to the Romans, were probably also missionary
couples18 Clement of Alexandria, writing in the second century, commends the
early practice of missionary couples because the women evangelists would
have had access to the women's quarters, which would have been closed to
strange men. Clement even claims that Paul himself considered traveling as a
missionary couple with the woman companion he greets in one of his letters.
Clement thinks Paul is referring to this woman when he protests ìHave we
not the right to take about with us a wife that (is a sister like the other
apostlesî (Stromateis 3; see 1 Cor 9:5).
' The most dramatic story of a woman evangelist is found in the second
century book the Acts of Thecla. In this story Thecla's calling as an
evangelist was legitimated by her ascetic renunciation and her experiences
of martyrdom. After hearing Paul's teachings on ascetic Christianity, she
rejected her fiance, renounced marriage, and refused to continue her
family's line by producing heirs. Twice she endured martyrdom, once by
burning at the stake (she was miraculously rescued by a downpour) and again
by being thrown to the beasts. (They were all females of the species and
refused to eat her.) In both cases her resounding rejection of male suitors
in order to pursue the ascetic life precipitated these events. In the final
scene she declares her apostolic mission to evangelize Iconium and Paul
confirms her mission saying, ìGo preach the gospel and baptizeî.20 A century
later the women of Carthage appealed to the story of Thecla to defend their
right to baptize. Tertullian, who was trying to suppress women's public
ministries claimed that the Acts of Thecla (also called the Acts of Paul and
Thecla) was a forgery and that a presbyter admitted he had written them out
of a love for Paul. By the third century women's leadership was so well
entrenched that women were appealing to literary sources to defend their
authority. Simply attacking women's ministries on the grounds that they did
not conform to gender roles was not enough, Tertullian must also contest the
literary sources that underwrote women's ministries.


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Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 12:12:03 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Male and Female Roles in the Church

Hi Again!

Another quote from the same article. Very interesting argument is made that
the women had tremendous influence in the early church leadership because it
was church in the house, in their "domain" and women were the head of the
house and chiefly responsible for the affairs of the home and child rearing.

Change to a male dominated church system only happened when the church moved
out of the house into the public square and meeting in public meeting houses
or religius buildings.

Sam

Here again is a great quote:
In the ancient Greco--Roman version of the public--private gender ideology,
definitions of social space played an important role. The social and
economic functions of the oikos (household) were carried out in the covered
places, in contrast to the functions of the polls (city), which occurred in
the' open or in public spaces. In the words of a second--century B.C.E.
writer, ìMen should be generals and city officials and politicians, and
women should guard the house and stay inside and receive and take care of
their husbands.41Women were assigned the task of child--rearing. As the
manager of the oikos, a wife was responsible for the production of textiles;
the distribution of food and clothing; and the education, training, and
disciplining of slaves. Her activities defined women's space, the physical
space of the household. In terms of this ancient public--private ideology,
public space was male space because it was defined by the masculine
activities of citizenship: voting, debating, public speaking, and holding
public offices. Wherever men engaged in the pursuit of the public welfare,
politics, law, or warfare became public spaces.
Because Christianity developed within the matrix of Greco--Roman
society, cultural beliefs about a public male sphere and a private female
sphere were assimilated into the Christian social order. However, in the
first two centuries this assimilation had a positive effect on women's
leadership. In terms of the division of Greco--Roman society into public and
private domaiÒs,~the early Christian house--churches were located in the
private domain. The public sphere was that of the st‰te, concerned with the
common goodópolitics, warfare, and public justice. The concerns of the
private domain were economic and familial.42
The earliest Christians conceived of themselves explicitly as an ìalter
native" family Ûr household. In the preaching of Jesus the bonds between the
followers of Jesus were like familial bonds, and indeed superseded them. The
Christian communities of the apostolic period designated themselves a
ìhousehold churchî (he kat'oikon ekklesia, literally, ìcoming together at
homeî) (1 Cor 16:19; Phlm 2; Col 4:15). The position of head of a household
also qualified an individual for leadership roles. Because household
management involved administrative, financial, and disciplinary
responsibilities, it prepared an individual to assume corresponding
responsibilities in the community.43
Up until the third century, early Christian worship took place in the homes
of prosperous householders. Women and men as heads of households possessed
important resources for the early Christian communities. First, they owned
homes that were large enough for the communal gatherings, which probably
took place in the dining room, or triclinium. Prayers, preaching, and
exhortation were carried out in the context of a communal meal, and the meal
itself was provided out of the resources of the household's store of
foodógrain, olive oil, cheese, and fruit. Such gifts of food and hospitality
counted as a form of benefaction and established the householder in the role
of patron. While male and female householders who served as patrons of
house--churches may not have always been the titled leaders of those
churches, there are many similarities between the duties of householders and
those of early ìbishopsî and ìpresbyters.î Architectural evidence suggests
that after the middle of the third century Christian communities were able
to buy private houses and adapt them for worship through minor remodeling.44
However, not until the erection of basilicas (modeled on the Roman public
reception hall) in the fourth century did architecturýl space clearly define
Christian worship as public.45
As long as Christian worship was conducted in private space, the
public--private gender ideology did not constitute a cultural barrier to
women's leadership. First-- and second--century Christians, familiar with
the authority and leadership role of the female head of household, would
have perceived women's leadership within the church as not only acceptable
but natural Nor would the specific leadership functions exercised in the
first-- and second--century church have constituted a barrier to women whose
skills and experiences as managers amply prepared them to assume roles of
teaching, disciplining, nurturing, and administering economic resources.
Because women's leadership in the churches was perceived as being exercised
iÒ ý quasi--private sphere, it did not thrËaten ingrained social prejudice
But by the thira century, Christian churches werÈ beginniÒg to perceive
themselves as more similar to institutions of the public sphere than
institute the space of Christian worship became public space and the offices
of the church became masculine. However, women's leadership, although
sharply contested in certain contexts, did not disappear. Documentary and
literary sources provide evidence of women's leadership throughout this
period and into the succeeding centuries. The obstacles posed by the
changing models of leadership and the Greco--Roman conventions about public
and private space were serious, but in the end they were only
obstacles, women could find ways of circumventmg them.


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Date: 15 Aug 2002 18:39:03 -0400
From: Mike Sangrey <msangrey * BlueFeltHat>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

On Thu, 2002-08-15 at 11:16, Deborah wrote:
> Mike S. wrote:
<snip>

> > But, I note you also have churches apostling
> > people. Is that Jesus sending? No, it's a
> > specific body of believers. What authority do
> > they have? Well, they have authority to carry
> > out the task Jesus...ummm...sent churches to
> > do. And we can talk about what that task was,
> > but, in a nutshell, it appears to me to have to
> > do with evangelizing and reproducing other
> > churches.
>
> So does this perhaps clarify for us all the difference most of us
> intuit between the 12 and those others referred to in the NT as "apostles"?

It does for me <smile> The differentiator is WHO does the sending.
That's not to say that any beneficial activity done by a believer
ultimately is not from the Lord, but it's more to describe how this
activity of sending and being sent works out in the real world were
people get their jeans dirty. That's why there are not, IMO, anyone
today who can claim to be an Apostle of Jesus, the Messiah in the way
the 12 could. There are other apostles, but the WHO who has done the
sending is different. IMO, Jesus isn't tapping anyone on the shoulder
(or blinding anyone) today and sending them out as representatives who
are just like Him. He is working through other means and not as
directly. At least not in the terms we are using dealing with
Apostleship.

> > BTW, talking about who the sender is and that the
> > person being sent has the authority of the sender
> > forces to the surface the whole question of whether
> > that authority rests in the elders or in the church. I
> > personally think it rests in the body of people. And
> > that establishes the task, authority, and accountability
> > relationships. There's a bunch of related issues here
> > which, given the way people view the church today,
> > complicates how this works. But, that's where I'm at
> > right now.
>
> This indeed is a topic worth discussing on this list. I get the
> feeling from past discussions that the majority, like you, would be
> "congregationalists" (in the polity, not denominational, sense of the word),

I won't speak for anyone else, but what I am is sort of hard to
describe. <laugh>

There's this really neat passage in Luke 20:1-8 where Jesus' authority
is questioned. He doesn't give the answer...ummmmmm...or does he? I
suggest that not only does he answer the question; but he trips the
Jewish leaders (!) into giving the same answer; and Luke, in the way he
records the whole event, ends up snagging the reader into giving the
same answer, too. It's an absolutely masterful piece of writing and
even more absolutely (sic) masterful of Jesus in orchestrating the whole
thing. I laugh every time I read it.

Where did John get his authority to Baptize--from God or people?

Interesting question. Why? Because no matter how you answer it--from
God, or from people--you end up having to respect John's authority.
Why? Because BOTH are true!! It's the complete inverse of the question
have you beaten your wife lately, which of course implies two
questions: Have you EVER beaten your wife? And, have you done that in
the recent past. The answer, of course (hopefully) is `no' to BOTH
questions. In the case of Jesus' question, the answer is `yes' to BOTH
questions. And that's the problem. So, the Jewish leaders are stuck.

But what does that imply, then, about Jesus? That he gets his authority
from BOTH heaven and earth. Now, you might say, "Hey, wait a minute,
Jesus is God--He IS the authority!!! It don't matter what I say or
don't say, He is still the authority no matter what."

Well, when we talk about the bedrock of truth, that's true. And the
proof of that awaits a day in the future when He sets foot on the planet
and says, "OK, we're done now." And, we are!!!! And the fact of that
gets real obvious, real fast. (Let's not quibble over any eschatology
here, OK?) Now, that's authority.

But, when we talk about working that authority out practically, in the
everyday lives of people, then things get a little more complicated. If
Jesus says, "eat your green veggies," does everyone on the planet start
eating green veggies? Do all the Christians?

What am I saying? That a person's authority, even Jesus' authority, is,
when one considers the practical day-to-day out-working of that
authority, dependent on the giving of that authority from two rather
different directions: from God and from the people who are willing to
be led by that person. The answer is `yes' to both questions.

Interestingly, when a reader reads this Lukan passage and understands
what Luke relates, the reader thinks, "Wow, Jesus is REALLY clever and
so...so...so...gosh, He is so right!" And what is a reader who responds
that way willing to give Jesus then? Authority. Why? Because anyone
who is THAT MASTERFUL and has THAT level of grasp of the things that
ring THAT true has to be someone who is at the very least "in" with the
God above and therefore has authority from God Himself. In other words,
Luke snags the reader, too. The reader says `yes' to both questions.

Masterful, positively masterful.

What does that have to do with my approach to church polity? The
authority within a church, in my view, does NOT rest with a Pastor, or
the elders, or the so-called layman as an organizational unit. It has a
lot more to do with a cooperative acceptance of roles and the formal
recognition that certain people are mature (which is a little different
than the recognition of their being an authority). And if these people
are mature, then God says we are to submit (follow their example,
consider the outcome of their faith, etc).

In other words, the authority of a church leader doesn't rest in "I said
so." It rests in both God's blessing an individual with maturity AND
the willingness of people to follow that person. If either of those are
missing, the person really isn't a leader. Which, of course, may mean
the church has no leadership at all. People who won't submit, won't
have a leader. And people who do submit, may very possibly not have a
leader. For the authority of a person comes from both God and people.
That's just the way it works out in the practical day-to-day of life.

Note, however, that a group of people who are willing to submit to each
other will rather quickly grow some people into leadership because the
natural friction between people will just simply exercise people in
areas they don't normally get exercised in. If they are willing to
submit to one another, if they are willing to give a very high priority
to unity, then maturity develops.
> but I will go on record as not being so sure. Why, bro Mike, do you think
> the authority of the sender (delegated by Christ himself, we all understand
> here) rests with the local body at large and not primarily with the elders
> (or even elder!) representing that body? A cursory search using the English
> words "sent from" (APESTALMENOS PARA-- Joh. 1:6; APESTALMENOI HUPO-- Act.
> 10:17), and "sent by" (APESTALE ... APO-- Luk. 1:26) gives me back info
> regarding individual "senders" only. Not groups. Mightn't that be
> reflective of how the term Apostle or the verb "to apostle" are *primarily*
> used in the NT? If so, where does that leave us regarding the local body
> theory?

That's a fair question. I think part of it is simply the nature of it.
When a person is sent with delegated authority, the natural way that
will work is that a person who has that authority will be the one doing
the delegating. So, I would expect to see this much more than a group
of people.

Having said that, you still need some instruction from God. So, does
the Bible have anything to help us get a clue? Well, you have Acts 9:38
where the disciples in Joppa send (APESTEILAN, note the plural) two men
for Peter. You have an interesting use in Acts 11:30 where the
disciples decide to send money and do so by way of Barnabas and Saul.
These are groups of disciples doing the sending. There's a pretty
clearly defined task and if the people at the other end get questioned
regarding WHO is doing the sending, the sendees can answer quite easily.

There's a really interesting use in Acts 15:27. Here the letter is from
"the apostles and elders" in Jerusalem (vs 23). And they say, "we are
sending Judas and Silas" (APESTALKAMEN OUN IOUDAN KAI SILAN --
"Therefore, we have sent"). But, wait a minute, what had happened? See
15:22. Note how it's worded: TOIS APOSTOLOIS KAI TOIS PRESBUTEROIS SUN
hOLHi THi EKKLHSIAi ("the apostles and the elders with the complete
church").

I think two things are interesting. That word `complete' which makes me
think that involving everyone was a rather important thing to do. And,
secondly, that word `with' which in this case is SUN ("with"). As you
might know, and this isn't a hard and fast rule, but more often than
not, SUN connects LIKE things; unlike META ("with") which tends to be
used when UNlike things are with each other. So, there is some
interesting balancing going on here. I'll have to think some more about
this one. Though I think this tends to illustrate what I was saying
above about authority in the church. It's both/and. It's `yes' to both
questions.

Well, this is long enough. I sincerely hope the Greek citations don't
come across to people on the list as academia wins over non-academia.
That's losing. My hope is that they add some validity to what I'm
saying by providing clear evidence that people can check out, even if
they need other people to do the actual checking. My intent is to be
open and accountable. If I were to say or even think that what I've
said above is true because "I said so," I'd be contradicting everything
I say here. And even if I am contradicting everything I've said, truth
doesn't need me.

Hopefully a servant,

Mike Sangrey
msangrey * BlueFeltHat
Landisburg, Pa.
"The first one last wins."
"A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."


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


Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 07:16:02 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Getting aquainted - Link and Jay's comments on Trinitarianism

Hi!

Let me add to this 'heretical debate' (LOL!)

When we get to heaven, how many thrones will be see? And who will be sitting
on it?

1 or 3

And who is ON the Throne?

Sam


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


Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 19:42:15 -0400
From: "Linkh * bigfoot" <Linkh * worldnet.att>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What are apostles?

John Fenn wrote,
(Message directed at Sam at bottom of message.)

> The Lord is consistent through the ages. Vine says that 4 of the 6
> times Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned she comes first, indicating she
is
> the main speaker.

I've heard other explanations for this. I recall reading that Priscilla's
name may have indicated that she was from a particularly influential family.
I've read the theory that Aquilla may have been a former slave who was set
free, and therefore his higher-status wife was mentioned first on many
occasions. (Were Jews really slaves during this period? Seems unlikely to
me.)

..when they corrected Apollos in Acts 18 'they' took him
> aside...in that culture, to say 'they' instead of 'he' is indicative of
her
> involvement.

In Acts 18:18, Paul lists Priscilla first. Later, in verse 26, in the verse
where they instruct Apollos, Aquilla is mentioned first. Could it be that
Priscilla is listed first in other passages because of some social reason,
rather than because she was the main speaker.

> Romans 16:1 mentions Pheobe, a deaconess, tradition says she was
> a traveling minister and teacher.

What traditionwas that?

Paul told the Romans to assist her in whatever business she had need of
them, but didn't mention teaching.

> The church at Philippi was at Lydia's
> home...Nymphas in Colossians 4 had a church in her home as well...
> These women are in the offices of teacher, pastor, whatever label we
> may put on them.

I think you are presuming too much here. One could host a home church
meeting without being a 'pastor' or 'teacher.' Lydia hosted Paul as a very
new believer. We often see people who have gifts of teaching, etc. opening
up their homes to start house churches. But some people who open their
homes are not church leaders. It isn't right to assume that the host of a
church meeting mentioned in scripture is a dominant speaker in the church.
Maybe they just had the nicest houses that were suitable for church
meetings.

Some see Aquilla and Priscilla as a 'missionary couple.' They were clearly
dedicated--helping Apollos understand the truth, hosting the apostle Paul,
risking their lives for him, and hosting church meetings. Paul says they
were in Christ before he was. But if they were church planters, why would
Paul be the one to 'lay the foundation' of Christ in Corinth? Paul stayed
with Aquilla and Priscilla in Corinth. It is likely that they were already
there in Corinth. If that were the case, why wouldn't this couple have
already laid the foundation of Christ in the church of that city? Why
hadn't they planted a church in Corinth before Paul got there? Maybe they
didn't have the grace of apostleship that Paul had.

Their migrations may have simply been the result of the emporer
providentially kicking the Jews out of Rome, and allowing them back in
again.

>>If pastor, teacher, deacon,
and
> such can be women then the others may have women.

Maybe Junia was an apostle. If she was, that wouldn't be a problem for me
at all. Being a 'deacon' doesn't necessarily have to do with teaching
ministries, imo. A deacon may be a teacher, or be involved in administering
social programs, imo.

The theological issue is that Paul taught against a woman usurping authority
over or teaching a man. I am really uncomfortable with one-pastor churches
that have a woman at the helm. In these churches, almost inevitably, you
end up with women discipling men, if there is discipleship going on.

Sam mentioned appointing women elders. Paul listed one of the
qualifications of being a bishop as being 'the husband of one wife' (a
'one-woman man.') This implies that a bishop be a man.

Paul also instructs older women to teach younger women. Peter's wife
apparently travelled with him-- according to I Cor. 9. If Peter's wife were
a gifted teacher, she could teach women. If she were an evangelist, it
could be easier for her to get opportunities to share with women than it
would be for Peter to do so. (I suspect the apostles would have preferred
to focus on heads of households and their houses, as in the case of the
Philippian jailer. There is a much higher rate of the whole household
repenting if the man of the house repents, according to some modern stats
I've read.)

As far as women pastoring, I see 'pastoring' as a gift of taking care of
sheep, rather than as another word for 'bishop.' Older women teaching
younger women may exercise a gift of 'pastor.'

Imo, one of the reasons there are so many professional 'pastors' who don't
meet the Biblical qualifications for elders is because the modern church
thinks that only 'clergymen' should do teaching and preaching ministry, and
so try to push anyone with a speaking gift into the 'pastor' mold. The same
thing happens with women. Many women that want to minister certainly want
the 'pastor' position open to them. The modern role of 'pastor' isn't truly
a Biblical office, anyway.

>>Or even more absurd, there is no definition
of> helps or governments in I Cor 12:28, do we assume only men can operate
in
> those gifts? Or do we assume only women can operate in them?<

The Bible says nothing to limit the gift of helps to either men or women, so
there is no reason to think that the gift is limited. The Bible does say
something about women teaching men.
> To me, Junia is clearly female, and yes, there was a council in 3--
> something where the bishops changed the text to female, even removing
> inscriptions off gravestones (in Egypt) of female bishops and
apostles...I'll
> find the source for that, I've seen pictures of the graves...

If the names were removed from graves, how would we know the names were on
the graves in the first place? I'd be interested in the sources, btw.
Sam,

About the quote you gave about the church being 'private' space of the first
three centuries, and therefore a domain where women could have authority:
The article would have been much more convincing if it cited some primary
sources. Is this quote from a book with good footnotes? I'd like to read
them. Are there any examples of early female bishops, etc?

As a counter-argument, synagogues could also meet in homes. A synagogue
needed 10 Jewish _men_ to be considered legitimate. Synagogue leadership
was male. Many of the earliest Christians, even in Gentile cities, had a
synagogue background. Gentile God-fearers were sometimes happy to hear
Paul's message.

Sam,

Your other quote was interesting, but I'd like to seem some evidence to back
up some of the assertions:

>>Sch¸ssler Fiorenza identifies Paul's
"co--workers" who were evangelizing and teaching as such itinerant
missionaries: Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis, who are mentioned in
his letter to the Romans; and Euodia and Syntyche whom he greets in his
letter to the Philippians 16 <<

Is there any clear evidence in scripture that these people were itinerant
missionaries? Could they have just been 'regular saints.' Maybe the reason
they are seen as itinerant missioanries is because the people doing the
interpreting don't think of 'regular believers' and their ministries as
significant enough to mention. (Clergy-laity mentality.) I hear that
Calvin thought that Ephaphroditus who was sent to minister to Paul's needs
in Rome, must have been a preacher. How could someone who was not a gifted
preacher be praised so well? I doubt Paul only thought it important to
honor gifted preachers. The less comely body parts are important to.

Are there any ancient writings or traditions identifiying these people as
missionaries?

I've read that the Greek is ambiguous as to whether Andronichus and Junia
were apostles. The apostles may have just considered them to be noteworthy.
Those who insist that these two were apostles may just be assuming their own
conclusion. They believe in women apostles, and so interpret the passage to
'prove' their point.

Link Hudson


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