New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, September 19 2002 Volume 02 : Number 168
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings
[NTCP] Restoration Movement
RE: [NTCP] Re: Campbell on relative eldership
RE: [NTCP] Restoration Movement
RE: [NTCP] Re: Campbell on relative eldership
[NTCP] Re: Restauration movement.
[NTCP] Communion components (Was: Components of proper church meetings)
[NTCP] Elders. A voice of the past, fallen of deaf ears.

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 17:07:38 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

I had written:

>> Correct worship is easier to milk out of
>> correct doctrine than the reverse.

To which Jay F. responded:

> Dear Michael,
>
> Haven't spent too much time fellowshipping
> "Fundamental Baptists", have you?

Brought to the Lord through their evangelistic zeal. Thanking God
every day that I was. We're not going to descend into group bashing are we?
Listen, the point I guess I was trying to make was that people with a
commitment to the authority of Scripture are at least in a position to
reason via the Scripture, whereas those who see the Bible as important but
not binding can ultimately do what they want in the name of "warm fuzzies"
or whatever. I've even seen a bit of that on this discussion list. :-(

Me:

>> Others may (should?) be replaced with
>> different forms ... so long as the original
>> meaning is kept. I think.

Jay:

> If only we could discover the meaning, and
> having discovered it, agree on it.

Jay, you spend too much time thinking. Simply allow *me* to tell you
what things mean. SO much easier! ;-)

Jay:

> but I would not want to limit it's digested
> meaning to that brief core of truth. The truth
> is usually bigger then our capacity to ingest in
> any one sitting or even a life time of sittings.

Settling for the nebulous-- but SAFE-- take on things, are we? My
"brief core of truth" was not all of the truth on the matter, but it was/is
true ... according to the Bible, at least.

Jay:

> If it's going to be one cup, I would prefer that it
> be wine rather than Pepsi or even grape juice.
> If we are going to get rid of the wine, so as not
> to stumble any one, the we might want to get
> rid of the women first. In my experience, they
> are a much bigger stumbling block to the weak
> of faith, then the alcohol in the wine.

Oh, I would too Jay. Prefer real wine, that is. Remember, I don't
live in the Bible Belt. I live in Israel, where we have places like Carmel
(Vineyard of God), and Eshkhol (Grape Cluster). One of my more recent
campus activities was to organize a grape harvest from our college's
vineyard, and to lead the students (some of them from "fundamentalist
Baptist" backgrounds) in a good ole fashioned wine festival, complete with
grape stomping, and first plus second "must". All in the name of "higher
learning," mind you. We'll have some *real* wine to taste come the end of
the semester. Biblical style! Brother Welche would roll over in his grave.
I was talking about what is available in remote places like Irian
Jaya. What do we expect, for the natives to save up a whole year's worth of
sea shells so they can import a single bottle of Mogen David? Sheesh, let's
think this through reasonably! Wine is not an option in every culture.
BTW, perish the thought of discarding the women, brother! Where would
we glean the next generation of church leadership ... ?!?!

> P.S. As for your other contribution of this
> morning, Let me be perfectly candid, not
> to say brief, with you. I have watched for
> years now as young spiritual fast guns
> come in to areas and carve up the flock
> of God faster than the authentic elders
> can discover who they are, and get in
> touch with each other. When we come
> into a place by any other means than
> the gate, we are robbers and thieves. The
> apostolic and prophetic canneries are
> turning out Fisher Price apostles and
> prophets, faster than they can be tested
> or approved. This is the wholesale, or
> multilevel marketing equivalent of "laying
> hands in haste". It is a set up for the devil.
> "Know then that are over us in the
> faith"???? What can this possible mean?
> Hello??

I'm sorry Jay, ... but I thought I was agreeing with you on that
particular post. For a change. I thought I was just fleshing out what you
had implied when you wrote "all things being equal". Oh well, one never
knows. You could be saying "Amen!" to something someone said and he could
think you were calling him "Haman" and call the temple guards. ;-)

Michael
Jerusalem


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 10:28:07 EDT
From: JoelBRJr * aol
Subject: [NTCP] Restoration Movement

George,
So that I do not open my mouth too quickly and be thought a fool, when you
speak of being wary of the Restoration Movement, exactly of what parts or
doctrines should we be wary?
I certainly desire to restore to my own worship practices those things which
Christ taught but the church in general has neglected.
Joel


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 11:40:54 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Re: Campbell on relative eldership

>Most people of The Restoration Movement have become that which it's
>founders spoke against. I know because we came out from that after 27
>years of blindness and control under it. While they say the right things
>they do not practice that which they say. They say they are "not the
>only Christians, but Christians only." THEY USE GREAT CATCH PHRASES BUT
>DO NOT PRACTICE THEM. Beware of those of The Restoration Movement.
>George

and

>While the quote by Campbell is right on and timely, let us not forget that
>many of the Campbellite churches were/became extremely legalistic and
>exclusivistic, placing an emphasis on leadership.
>Joel

True, so true, brothers of mine. 'Twould be misleading to suggest that
the followers of A. Campbell were holders of the eldership view now under
consideration. The quotation about "eldership being relative" was
certainly not implemented on a wide scale.

Most all of us have good ideas now and then which never hatch out. Martin
Luther, in fact, had contemplated and wrote of a plan involving groups of
house churches - he never sought to implement it.

I found, btw, a wonderful woman among the "Churches of Christ." Carolynn
is the name.

David Anderson


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 11:50:45 -0400
From: "George Howell" <elgeo * attbi>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Restoration Movement
The Restoration Movement as it started was great but it soon became that
which it preached against.
Most people I know of in the Campbell Camp think they alone hold the
truth. Which I do not believe. They will not say this but it shows
itself in their actions.
At least this has been my experience. Hopefully yours is different in
your fellowshipping with The Campbell's and Stone's.

Thanks
George

Matthew 24:14


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 12:01:56 -0400
From: "George Howell" <elgeo * attbi>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Re: Campbell on relative eldership
YOU WROTE:

I found, btw, a wonderful woman among the "Churches of Christ." Carolynn

is the name.

David Anderson


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Yes I agree there are some wonderful and great people in the church of
Christ/ Christian church. All I am saying is examine everything hold on
to the good and discard the bad.

George

Matthew 24:14


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 22:06:29 +0200
From: "Keith Smith" <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: [NTCP] Re: Restauration movement.

Hi guys,
Just a thought. Please be careful when referring to the restoration
movement. It means something different this side of the pond.
Blessings
Keith in Spain


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Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 23:19:41 -0400
From: "Link Hudson" <Linkh * mcdowell.main.nc.us>
Subject: [NTCP] Communion components (Was: Components of proper church meetings)

Michael Millier wrote,

> I was talking about what is available in remote places like Irian
> Jaya. What do we expect, for the natives to save up a whole year's worth
of
> sea shells so they can import a single bottle of Mogen David? Sheesh,
let's
> think this through reasonably! Wine is not an option in every culture.

Since I doubt I'll have time today to write a lengthy-enough response to a
previous post of yours or some of the other posts on the forum, I thought
I'd comment on this one.

The story about the Irian Jayans taking communion with yams was interesting.
Certain tribes there eat certain kinds of tubors similar to sweet potatoes
(These were probably not true yams since the Irians got these through
contact with westerners.) The Irians could probably grow bread and grapes
in most parts of the island.

In Indonesia, there is a type of sour grape called the Bali grape that has
been
used to make wine (which I hear is pretty bad, but it's still wine.) It
seems like I've heard of other varieties of grapes being grown in the
cooler, higher elevations of Irian Jaya. I would imagine some kind of grape
could grow in most climates.

Some Indonesians mix a tiny bit of wine with water, sugar, and other
ingredients for their communion. I even visited one church that mixed in a
little wine from Israel brought back from a trip before the economic crisis.
I wonder if they thought that made their wine more holy. :)

If I ever get around to finishing it, I'd like to suggest in the book I'm
writing for Indonesia that Indonesians use local grapes for communion,
especially in house churches in tiny villages. Bringing in wine from
Jerusalem is a pattern that is not 'reproducable.'

A missionary aquaintence of mine suggested the idea of using tomato juice in
communion. It is red, and the Bible speaks of the 'fruit of the vine.'
Tomato juice is the fruit of the vine as well. I would imagine that some
people in Indonesia would think it sacreligious to use tomato juice. But
the same people will take communion wafers probably made from a flour made
from tree sap, instead of a flour made from a grain as in Biblical times.

I have a cultural issue I've been wondering about concerning communion. The
early church ate bread. Bread was their main food that they ate every day.
Wine was a staple drink. These staple food items were things they could
relate to, things that kept them alive. 'Lechem' (bread) may have meant
'food' to the Hebrews as well as bread.

When the believers ate communion, they were eating--physically, what kept
them alive, their main foods, to remember Christ, and also communion with
the body and blood of Christ.

When a missionary goes abroad, should he try to use 'bread' and 'wine' that
mean the same thing to the people he is ministering to that bread meant to
the early Christians? Let me give this example-- instead of eating barley
or wheat loaves or wafers, wouldn't it ber appropriate for a missionary
ministering to Mexican Indians to teach them to use their own soft taco
shells-- the local bread-- in communion?

Maybe the soft taco shell isn't too hard of a leap for us, since it is
bread, and it may even be unleavened for those concerned over such issues.

Now what about this idea-- eating rice for communion in Asia? Rice is the
cultural equivilent of bread to middle easterners. Rice also comes from a
grain, like bread does.

If we think about the Hebrews eating unleavened bread-- matzo (sp?matza?)
for Passover, and realize that matzo can be boiled or baked, and then think
about boiled rice being a type of unleavened matzo, this may make more
snese.

There are moist types of bready pastries that can be made from rice four. I
hear it is possible to make bread from rice flour.

What would you think of a jungle tribe drinking tomato juice and eating rice
for communion?

In some cultures, there may be no 'fruit of the vine' that people drink at
all. Should missionaries introduce new foods to natives, for them to eat in
communion? What is more important in communion-- remembering Christ with
the very foods he ate, or remembering Christ with the food that keeps us
alive from day to day in our own culture?

My own view on this would be somewhat conservative. I like to see some kind
of bread made from a grain, preferrably unleavened, but I'm not hard core on
the unleavened issue. I like to see something made from grapes, whether or
not it is fermented. Unfermented grape juice is still 'oinos' in Greek as I
understand it. It is still the fruit fo the vine. Tomato juice is really
'pushing it' for me.

I don't know what the solution would be for reaching Eskimos in their
villages. I don't know of any grain or fruit of the vine that these people
consume. Yet trying to have the Lord's Supper with whale blubber or seal
meat and melted ice sure doesn't seem right to me.

During our last house church meeting at the assembly Jay and I both go to, the hosts
presented a loaf of home-baked bread, and two cups. One cup had fermented
wine, and another had grape juice, so that no one's conscience would be
offended. The ironic thing to me is that if any people were hard-set on
there being one cup, this could still be an issue. We dipped the bread in
the cup (no drinking-after-other-people issues, I guess.)

Imo, the most nuetral thing to do may be to have grape juice, since grape
juice is 'oinos.' Real wine does have the benefit of killing germs if all
do drink from the same cup, however.

I'm starting to think about having wine in communion. I don't have a
problem with alcohol in communion, but if I ever bring any of the kids from
the group home to church with me, and some are believers who want to
partake, it may not be legal for underaged kids to take a sip of cummion
wine- espeically since I am not the legal guardian. I'm wondering if I
need a release from the parents, or if I get a child on probation if
drinking communion wine would be a violation of probation.

Link Hudson
Marion NC USA


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Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 12:55:44 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] Elders. A voice of the past, fallen of deaf ears.

Hi all,

We are in the midst of an extended thread on eldership. We'll archive it
on the web and not have to go over it again but perhaps build upon it
later. This is progress, methinks.

Please submit any contribution which you desire to be included.

The quote below is from a rare book. "Rare" because the Brits who read
theology in the 1800's were mostly clergy and would have had little use
for such a volume - much less a second edition

Glory to the Lamb, who is also the good Shepherd.

David Anderson

Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church, and said:
'Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy
Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,' Acts 20:17,28.

In the above quotation we find the three terms, presbuteroi, elders or
seniors; episcopoi, episcopoi, bishops or overseers; and poimaino,
poimaino, to pastor or shepherd, applied to the same brethren, and that
in relation to the one work in which they participated. Coincident with
this is 1 Pet. 5:1-4, where that apostle says: The elders who are among
you I exhort, who am also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of
Christ, and a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed; feed the
flock of God that is among you, taking the oversight, not by constraint,
but willing, nor for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; not as lords over
the heritage, but as examples to the flock, and when the chief Shepherd
shall appear, ye also shall receive a crown of life that fadeth not away.
It is thus certain that eldership, oversight, and pastorate, are terms
expressive of the same functions of the same persons. Eldership or
seniority, in both passages stands initial to the charges given to
oversee and feed the flock. The combined duty of oversight and pastorate
is thus given in charge to the senior brethren.

Age, therefore, is the first requisite to the work of the Christian
overseer and shepherd. Neither non-age, nor dotage, but simply age, is
that which is denoted by presbuteros. A presbyter in apostolic use of
speech is simply a senior. The zah-kehn of the Hebrews, the presbuteros,
of the Greeks, and the senex of the Latins, are the exact equivalents of
the English senior, elder, or aged. This comparative group of elder ones
includes, but is not limited to, its superlative group of the eldest ones.

With all peoples and nations the aged have their appropriate place and
standing in the commonwealth; from among the elders of Israel, the
Sanhedrin, or national council, was constituted; the magistracy of the
Greeks was filled by their presbuteroi; and the senate of Rome took its
name from its being composed of seniors. It has been reserved for
apostate Christendom to shew to the world such an inversion of the
natural and divine constitution of things as savageism itself cannot
parallel: the seniors systematically under the rule of the young -
beardless youths fresh from school set to oversee the aged!

But age is not the only qualification. (Editor's note: by qualification,
Milner doesn't mean a requirement to be fulfilled in order to become an
elder. He is referring to requirements made of those who are already
elders.) An aged person may be a mere babe in Christ. It is not merely
length of days, but that in the divine life which qualifies for the
oversight of the Christian flock. Thus Paul says: 'Not a novice,
(literally, an immature person), lest being lifted up with pride he fall
into the condemnation of the devil.' 1 Tim. 3:6. It is not merely the
general experience that accompanies age, but that maturity and experience
which alone can be had in the family and service of God that fits for
Christian oversight.

This is the more manifest when we notice that the qualifications for this
most honourable work are almost, if not altogether, of a moral or
spiritual description. We do not at all find miraculous endowments
specified in connection with the bishopric of the flock nor particular
mental abilities. Excellence of life, faithful discipleship, lengthened
Christian experience, unchallengeable piety, are the grand requisites.
'An overseer,' says Paul, 'must be blameless, the husband of one wife,
vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach,
not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, patient, not a
brawler, not covetous, one that ruleth well his own house, having his
children in subjection with all gravity; for if a man know not how to
rule his own house, how shall he take care of the house of God? Moreover,
he must have a good report of those without, lest he fall into reproach,
and the snare of the devil,' 1 Timothy 3:2-7. This blamelessness,
chastity, watchfulness, modesty, good conduct, hospitality, aptness to
teach, non-quarrelsomeness, liberality, non-disputatiousness,
ungraspingness, good domestic rule, and good report of all, are
qualifications which ought to characterize every Christian senior. There
is no attribute of character here which is not within the reach of the
great body of the faithful. And those enumerated in Titus 1:6-9 are
precisely of similar import: 'If any be blameless, the husband of one
wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly. For a
bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not
soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but
a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy,
temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he
may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the
gainsayers.'

We are purposeful to note this because of the too common notions that
transcendent talents or highly cultivated intellect, are indispensable to
this good work. But the apostle says no such thing. We certainly do not
say that this work is beneath the highest gifts which the Head of the
church has bestowed upon his body - we do not say that uncultured minds,
any more than that unsanctified spirits, are adapted to this ministry;
but we do say that great oratorical powers, and much learning, are not
requisite to the faithful and successful discharge of its duties. The
aptness to teach here spoken of implies neither public oratory, nor
scholastic lore. It is simply that aptitude to instruct the ignorant and
erring which any mind well trained in the doctrine of the Lord may be
master of by practice. The holding fast of the faithful word as he has
been taught will enable the senior both to exhort and convict the
objector. The brother who perceiving from the sure word what is the mind
of the Spirit, can aptly state the same, either in personal converse, or
to the brethren in associated capacity, is apt to teach. James 1:5. We
have the happiness to know many such teachers in this most useful
respect, who would shrink from attempting a lengthened, studied, public
oration. We therefore entirely discard the notion that extraordinary
gifts are needed to the fulfillment of this duty, and press the
consideration of this upon the attention of all the believing, that they
may perceive the responsibility which the Lord has laid upon the seniors
in his flock.

Not until the qualifications are distinctly perceived to be of this
purely experimental type, will the Christian mind be emancipated from the
unscriptural trammels and trappings of mere clerical officialism which
has made a reproachful and mischievous monopoly and despotism of one of
the most free, lowly, honourable, laborious, and useful of Christian
services. Be it therefore further remarked, that in all the apostolic
allusions to it, the modern restricted official notion is sought for in
vain, while the practical, moral, matter-of-fact character of the work is
everywhere manifest. It is altogether and everywhere a thing of example,
a manner of life, a good work - not an office in the modern acceptation
of the term at all. The word officium signifies duty. The doing of any
good work which neighborliness or relationship calls for, is truly the
fulfilling of one's office. Thus we properly say, in respect of any acts
of kindness, that kind offices were rendered us. But while, since our
translators have given us this Latin term in 1 Timothy 3: 1, 'If any man
desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work,' it is well to
note its meaning as we have just done: it is further proper to observe
that it has no business in this passage.

Our translation, as all know, was made by official Episcopal authority
against the most urgent protests alike of Baptist and Presbyterian
dissent; and here we find, as elsewhere, the marks of the official
bishop. Paul's words are literally: 'If any desire oversight, he desires
good work, Ei tis episkophs oregetai kalou ergou epiqumei . The words,
'the office of a bishop,' are given instead of the single term
episcopees, oversight, inspection, or superintendence. The apostle does
not call it an office, but simply and truly, 'good work' and he
interposes nothing between it and the desire and destiny of any Christian.

Thomas Milner

--------------------------------

Me again: More is written in Scripture about elders than bishops. Still, oversight is open to those of any age. It would be fantastic that Paul utilized young men in his work, yet would bar them from serving in a local assembly. So, all elders are to be shepherds but not all shepherds will be elders.

 


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