New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, September 24 2002 Volume 02 : Number 169
[NTCP] Communion components (Was: Components of proper church meetings)
[NTCP] Elders / George Patterson
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 17:22:42 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: [NTCP] Communion components (Was: Components of proper church meetings)

Link H. wrote:

> The Irians could probably grow bread
> and grapes in most parts of the island.

But what would bread and grapes *mean* to the Irians? Maybe something
like eating squid and drinking sake' would *mean* to you, huh?

> 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.

You are right. LEKHEM has a secondary term for food in general, so
closely was "bread" associated with sustenance. Still is that way here, in
a sense, although the nomenclature has become more specialized.

> 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 is a debate here among the ASHKENAZIM (Jews whose deported
ancestors primarily lived in the Northern European environs) and the
SEPHARDIM (Jews whose deported ancestors primarily lived in the Middle East
and Mediterranean regions) about whether rice is "kosher" for the regular
meal at Passover. The ASHKENAZIM say no. The SEPHARDIM say yes. As all
Jews say about so many unsolvable issues: "When Messiah comes, he will tell
us the HALAKHA (practical application) on this thing" (cp. Joh. 4:25).
Really Link, what you bring up is of primary importance for us to
consider. The actual unleavened bread (MATZAH) *links* the communion rite
with the Jewish Passover. With Israel's historic deliverance under Moses'
leadership. OT forged together as one Bible with the NT. Conceptual
relationships of removing sin and accepting God's deliverence by faithful
obedience built right into Jesus' ministry (Exo. 12:15-20; Mat. 16:6, 11,
12; Luk. 12:1). And Paul's applications to congregations with both Jews and
gentiles (1 Cor. 5:7, 8).
The things for us to "juggle" here as NT believers seeking to plant
churches in different cultures and lands are:

1) Consistency with the biblical revelation, OT and NT. If we stray too far
in our quest for "dynamic equivelance" we may severe the necessary ties to
both aspects of God's one revelation.

2) Consistency with worldwide Christian practice. If the one Church begins
to fragment too far in basic sacramental practice, it may very well fragment
(even more) in other ways. At least I suspect as much.

3) The flip-side of meaningful-ness to people of other cultures. My
experience is that even most N. American Christians I have met don't really
have an inkling of what "bread and wine" communion is about. This should
cue us in that we are at least dealing with a transference problem, from
biblical Jewish culture to modern N. American or [fill in the blank]
culture. The meaning has been diluted due to time, distance, and other
"setting" issues. Hence we hear all kinds of "rational" explanations for
what people intuitively know is a salient ritual. But many (most?) of the
modern-day explanations for communion (as well as baptism) are not
culturally ... or biblically informed.

> 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.

Take my word for it ... or not. There was *no* such thing in ancient
Jewish culture as unfermented OINOS (Heb. YAYIN). True, in ancient Roman
writings there is reference to something that, for instance, Pliny the
Younger (c. 112 A.D.) calls SAPA: a concentrated grape extract used for
making a "juice-like" beverage. But Israel knew no such thing, ... at least
mention of it is not found in their writings, which were extensive on the
topic of wine-- as one might imagine. How they handled the "intoxication"
issue was to dilute fermented wine with water. A second witness:

"Soon after grape vintage, all wine would contain some alcohol (neither
refrigeration nor hermetic sealing existed). But the alcohol level of wine
was not increased artificially (distillation was not in use); rather, the
wine was watered down, with two to three parts water to one part wine"
(Keener, Craig. THE IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY: NEW TESTAMENT. Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993, p. 268).

From the stomping process on, grape juice forced out of the skin
begins to ferment. Spores on the grapes, stems, and even in the air begin
to have their effect on the product in the basin(s). There are two main
phases to fermentation:

1) after the juice is strained and put into a storage container, it is
sealed and stored some place dark and fairly warm (60-68 degrees F.) for
three days (TOSEFTA TER. 7.15; Pliny says he liked his at nine days) for a
rapid very turbulent time of fermentation.

2) after that, the now potent wine is taken to a cooler dark area (40-48
degrees F.) for a number of months. In TOSEFTA (MEN. 9:12) it is stipulated
that wine was not fit to be brought as an offering to the Jerusalem Temple
before it was 40 days old. Preferably longer. That which was newer than 40
days was not considered wine.

The wine we are currently making at Jerusalem University College has
been processed according to the ancient Jewish recipe(s). We made some last
Summer-- very fine tasting, quite strong. Good! My kids liked it too.

> 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.

If I were you, I'd check with at least one parole officer to see what
the rules are. And about guardian issues. My hunch is that "religious"
drinking of a sip or two would fall under a different category than
"recreational" drinking. But you would be wise to check, and double check
anyway. Just to make sure.

Michael
Jerusalem


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


Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 15:45:52 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] Elders / George Patterson

Greetings from Tennessee,

Our enemy knows that the saints are engaged in a war and is thus
attempting to neutralize as many soldiers as He can. He also wants to rob
us of our joy, which comes through serving (ministering to) others in His
name. Regrettably, we the church, are playing into our enemy's hands.
Erring on the side of caution, we have essentially put the majority of
the most experienced Christians on the shelf. The silent "laity" they've
become.

An ancient sage remarked that there was nothing new under the sun. An
inference is that everything we encounter has already been encountered by
others further down life's trail. God has put a desire into older ones
(the elders) to communicate to the younger ones. In the heart of the
younger ones is the desire to have such a guide and experienced friend.

God have mercy on all these children who are being born into fatherless
homes. For better of worse, a father's influence is very great.

As a young child I once overheard my Dad turn down a cigarette on the
front steps of a church we were visiting.

"I smoked a little in the Army... but no thanks," he replied, trying to
be agreeable.

Years later, when I had the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity and light
up, I remembered his words and I did light up.

"Good for Dad - good for me," I reasoned.

George Patterson answers the question: Who Should Mentor New Church
Leaders? Several of his remarks have bearing on the age-relative nature
of eldership.

David Anderson

begin quoted portion:

When a ministry begins to implement mentored coaching for new church
leaders, three questions may come up.

Question One: "Who should mentor new leaders?"

This question has several sides to it.

One with a legalistic or perfectionist bent might mean, "Who should not
be allowed to mentor new leaders?"

A busy executive might mean, "Who can I delegate the mentoring to?" Power
freaks that see mentors as a threat might mean, "I want no one to get in
my way. Who's loyal to my position?"

Insecure personalities might mean, "I doubt my ability to mentor. Who
else can do it?" One who is trying to imitate the apostles might mean,
"Who is capable and available to mentor new church leaders?"

The final answer should lead to discerning who is available to mentor
others. IN PIONEER FIELDS IT MAY BE ANOTHER LEARNER THAT IS ONLY A WEEK
AHEAD OF HIS COUSIN.

Many potential mentors lack experience and confidence, but want to help
newer leaders to grow. They need the right tools.

One tool in the box is a menu that they use any time. It should list the
basic commands of Christ, ministries that the New Testament requires for
a church and basic, vital doctrines.

...

Question Two: "What if my mentee asks for help for something for which I
lack experience?"

Remember that we do not have to give an answer at once; we can consult
with our own mentor first, or with others. Often the best help comes from
someone who has fallen on their face, their back and both sides, but
discovered what to do in the process.

Question Three "Who would pay me any attention?"

In one field this was expressed, "I'm ugly, have little education and my
tribe used to be slaves. Why would a new leader listen to me?"

A deep sense of insecurity plagues many people. This apparently was the
case with Timothy whom Paul mentored to coach others. He must have
expressed to Paul that he felt that he was inexperienced. Paul's advice
to Timothy was to be strong with help from the Lord, and to let no one
despise his youth. Even people who do not want to be our friends socially
will seek out our advice, if we let the Holy Spirit guide us when we
mentor them.

These people need the strong assurance of their commissioning and
gifting, just as Paul reminded Timothy of the gift he had received when
the elders laid hands on them. They need constant encouragement, just as
Paul encouraged Timothy, until they are confident. We see the same snag
in discipling on any level. Satan attacks our confidence. In one church
the pastor ask the older men to disciple the younger. Nearly all of them
felt incapable and assumed that the younger men would not want them to
interfere with their spiritual lives. So he asked the younger men during
a worship service to raise their hands if they wanted an older man to
disciple them. Every one eagerly raised his hand without hesitation! So
much for Satan's lie!

When women of a new church in Cucamonga, California asked Denny (George's
wife) to disciple them she'd agree on the condition that they would
disciple a newer believer. Many were shocked at the suggestion! They felt
incapable, although they had been believers for many years and had
absorbed tons of good Bible teaching! Denny simply got them together,
sometimes over lunch, and arranged it.

Who did the apostle Paul recognize as potential trainers? In 2 Timothy
2:2 he qualified them as "faithful" and "able to teach others." Some
Jerusalem leaders scoffed at the Galileans because they spoke with a
country accent. But Jesus chose all of the original twelve from among
these simple men and mentored them.

We invite those who use Train & Multiply to send questions to George
Patterson dennygeorge * attbi.

For information on T&M: www.TrainAndMultiply

For information on the electronic textbook Disciple the Nations:
http://www.westernseminary.edu/mrg/disciple/

end quote

Hi George! Thank you.


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


Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 01:45:49 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

>
>
>I had written:
>
>>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??
>>
Michael wrote:

>
> 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. ;-)
>
Actually, that P.S. was not directed against you Michael. I had caught
the tone of your agreement. I was just ventilating a little in
connection with a current fire fight on the home front.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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


Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 08:58:59 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings

Jay F. wrote:

> Actually, that P.S. was not directed
> against you Michael. I had caught
> the tone of your agreement. I was
> just ventilating a little in connection
> with a current fire fight on the home
> front.

No offense taken AND glad to be of service whenever you need to vent.
You've read a few posts of mine when I was doing the same. And sent me a
joke or two to help me calm down. Thanks. Hope all home fires are
contained. Except the ones that are s'posed to be burning. ;-)
I certainly agree along with you, David A., and George P. (plus
others), that those wisened by age are indispensible to the spiritual
vitality of almost any congregation. May we all tap into their valuable
insights for life in Christ. And may we never be found side-lining them
when we should be honoring them.

MICHAEL
Jerusalem

P.S. Coming up on that Philippines trip. God willing, my daughter and I
will be heading out this Thursday. Please pray God's anointing, blessing,
and leading. And for me to have a listening ear ... to both God and the
students. Thanks.


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #169

< Previous Digest Next Digest >




house church eldership servanthood lord's day lord's supper world missions