New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, October 2 2002 Volume 02 : Number 172
RE: [NTCP] "call to preach"
[NTCP] >>> viri are going around again. <<<
[NTCP] House Church Venom
Re: [NTCP] House Church Venom
Re: [NTCP] House Church Venom

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 20:42:28 +0200
From: "Keith Smith" <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] "call to preach"

Interesting!!!

Ten years ago, I was pastor of a church (cell church type) with over 450
members, I led a 16 man Christian counselling practice, and taught two
afternoons a web in the local Bible college, and I was called to all of
those things, with abundant fruit to show for it all. THEN THE LORD CALLED
ME TO SPAIN. Now ten years later, I pastor a church of 40 (organic home
church type), I direct a small charity, and I teach a handful. And I must
admit that I do travel a bit when called upon. I am a fulfilled man, because
I am living within my calling. Un fulfilled men are always striving for
more, fulfilled me are happy o be with Jesus where he has put them.

Blessings,
Keith

- -----Mensaje original-----
De: owner-ntcp * homechurch [mailto:owner-ntcp * homechurch]En nombre de
David Anderson
Enviado el: 01 October 2002 18:23
Para: ntcp * homechurch
Asunto: [NTCP] "call to preach"
>Dear David,
>
>For many years now, my impression has been that most of what has been
>claimed to be a "call to..." is actually a "run from..." This is very
>unfortunate on both ends of the transaction. "Wenting" does more harm
>than good. It is the "senting" that is needed, but even there it must be
>sent from something or someone authentic.
>
>Yours in Christ,
>
>Jay

Hi Jay, hi soldiers in the Lord's army, whose weapons are not carnal,

I do not recall on this list a discussion of the "call to preach." Like
so many issues, there are Bible passages which appear to be contradictory.

God's calling is sometimes taken for one's vocation or station in life.
Others see it as a real-time act of God convincing a person of their duty
to proclaim the gospel "full time."

Furthermore, "calling" also applies to salvation. "Rom. 8:30 Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them
he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." This
seems to be more than a summons, at least to some.

Conventional wisdom speaks of God's call to enter the pastorate, not to
mention pastoral calls to other churches, usually larger ones. :)

What saith the jury?

David Anderson


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Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 18:34:37 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] >>> viri are going around again. <<<

As are Trojan horses, etc. Don't open any attachments!!!!

HC-Talk, btw, restricts the size of posts in order to terminate viri.

Be alert. D.A.


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Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 21:43:20 -0400
From: forwarded <forwarded * homechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] House Church Venom

(Original message contained a duplicate copy in html (web code) making
it too long - ntcp forwarder.)

from: John White

Dear Friends,

Toward the end of August I got a rather unusual email (see below) from a
man named XXX Fields in Atlanta, GA. XXX said that the church meeting
in his home getting too big and that it was time to acquire a church
facility. The purpose of the email was to request 200,000 people around
the world to give $1 each to help in financing a facility.

My first response was that this was a unique scam that I hadn't heard of
before. My second response, on the off chance that the request was
legitimate, was to ask why he wasn't multiplying house churches instead
of going for a church building (see my email below).

XXX's response (see below) surprised me in several ways. First, it was
quite personal and convinced me that he was a brother in the Lord and
that his request was on the level. Second, it made me (a hardcore house
church person) think that, if I was in his shoes, I might be thinking
about a building also. Third, and the reason I'm posting this to our
list, it exposed a dark side to the house church movement that I've seen
glimpses of before. XXX's words deeply saddened my heart.

I have two questions for us.

First, do we need to repent for the angry, hostile tendencies within our
movement? Even if we personally haven't responded to traditional church
people with "venom", do we need to repent corporately? (Like Nehemiah in
1:6 - "I and my father's house have sinned.") Will God bless what we are
seeking to do with house churches if our hearts (or those of our brothers
and sisters) are filled with unforgiveness and bitterness?

Second, do we need to support XXX even though he is committing "the
unpardonable sin" (please note the quotation marks!) by seeking to obtain
a building? Perhaps there is someone on our list who is in or near
Atlanta who could meet with XXX and see his ministry first hand and
make a recommendation to us.

I apologize for the length of this email but it seemed important for you
to see the progression of emails.

John White
House Church Coach
Denver, CO.

Every believer a church planter.
Every home a church.
Every church building a training center.

(The first email from XXX)

Subj: atlanta house church needs help
Date: 8/25/2002 9:01:22 PM Mountain Standard Time
From: <A
HREF="mailto:LFIELDS * americanbible">LFIELDS * americanbible</A>
To: <A HREF="mailto:denverwh * aol">denverwh * aol</A>

Greetings to my friends around the world,

Our church has been meeting in my family's home since February, 2001. We
are a non-denominational, Christian church dedicated to reaching people
who are not being reached by traditional churches with the message of
God's love. In order to continue reaching the unchurched, the time has
come for us to acquire a facility that has commercial zoning, and at
least 3500 sq. ft. God has blessed us to overcome many obstacles and to
minister to several hundred people since making our home available for
public worship. Many of the people who worship here, are new believers,
while others are young in the faith. The average age of our congregation
is 21.9 years old. They are young singles, single parents, and young
couples with small children. As such, our financial resources are
limited, which is why we need your help.

We are launching a worldwide fundraiser, believing God for 200,000 people
around the world who will give a $1(US) donation to our church. Anyone
desiring to make a larger, tax-deductible contribution is welcome to do
so. These gifts will be deposited into a building fund that has been
established at SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, specifically for the purpose of
purchasing a commercially zoned worship/ministry facility.

Here's what we need from you. In addition to your $1 gift, we are asking
that you prayerfully distribute this email to everyone on your
distribution list who would be willing to contribute to Christian causes.
Please stand in agreement with us that this goal will be accomplished. If
an internet pornographer can become an instant millionaire, then God can
certainly use the internet to provide a local church with a mere $200,000.

Below, you will find instructions for mailing your donation. Since we are
501(c)(3) certified by the IRS, US citizens may deduct this contribution
from their federal income taxes. Any US citizen making a contribution
greater than $50 will automatically receive a receipt if they provide a
return address. Thanks in advance for your trust and your support. If you
would like to communicate with me personally, please write
XXXfields * hotmail.
Sincerely,
Pastor XXX A. Fields
Labour of Love Church (Hebrews 6:10)

Federal Tax ID 31-1757184
Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3)

visit our registry at www.guidestar

Donors may send contributions to:

Labour of Love Church
c/o building fund
PO Box 371438
Atlanta, GA 30037-1438
(my response to this email)

> >> From: DenverWH * aol [mailto:DenverWH * aol]
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 7:24 PM
>> To: LFIELDS * americanbible
>> Subject: Re: atlanta house church needs help
>>
>>
>> >>> Dear XXX,
>>>
>>> You are probably getting this response from lots of house church people
>>> but why in the world would you move in the direction of obtaining a
>>> facility? Most of what the Lord is doing these days is moving away from
>>> rented or purchased facilities and finding ways to multiply house
>>> churches as in the New Testament. This strategy is far more cost
>>> effective and has the potential of reaching many more people. I'll send
>>> you an article that explains this a bit more. You may also want to check
>>> out the website of House2House magazine at http://www.house2house/
>>>
>>> John White
>>> House Church Coach
>>> Denver, CO.
>>>
(This is XXX's response. I interspersed comments and sent it back to
him.)

> >> >>> Subj:RE: atlanta house church needs help
>>> Date:8/27/2002 8:11:31 PM Mountain Standard Time
>>> From:<A
HREF="mailto:LFIELDS * americanbible">LFIELDS * americanbible</A>
>>> To:<A HREF="mailto:DenverWH * aol">DenverWH * aol</A>
>>> Sent from the Internet
>
> Hello Coach,
>
> Thanks for your response to my plea for help. I received your inquiry with
> love, because you are one of only two house churchers who's response was
> Christ-like. Obviously, your love for the house church movement is born
> out of your love for the Lord and His word. It's refreshing, and I
> appreciate it very much.
>
> Thank you.
>
> >>
>> Please don't misinterpret what I'm about to say. In order to avoid making
> a sweeping generalization, as well as a scathing indictment of all house
> churchers, the following comments are based strictly on my interaction with
> the dozens of house churches that wrote me. These people were some of the rudest,
> most bitter, condescending, holier-than-thou, misrepresentations of
> Chrisitanity that I've come across in years. There is no way I could have
> anticipated some of the venom that was spewed at me.
>
> I am so sorry for that. It grieves my heart.
>
> >>
>> My biggest concern in sending out that email was that I would be written
> off as a scam artist. Suprisingly, that wasn't the case. As it turns out,
> there is something more inherently evil in the mind of those house churches than a
> con man- a traditional church planter! This has been a real eye-opener
> and learning experience for me.
>
> Several things have become obvious: first, I shouldn't count on any help
> from HC's. Second, I used a poor choice of words in the subject heading of
> my email when I referred to our fellowship as a "house church". The
> reality is that we are a local church. A church that uses my home as it's
> current gathering place. Third, it has become apparent that the HC
> movement is yet another schism in the body of Christ. Black church- white
> church, traditional church- contemporary church, Spirit-filled church-
> Spirit quenching church, denominational church- independent church, house
> church- institutional church. It goes on and on and on. For crying out
> loud, when are we going to stop this nonsense and just be the church?
> Unity in spite of diversity.
>
>
> I'm with you on this.
>
> >> It must grieve the heart of God to realize that some house churches are as trapped
>> in their renagade ideals as some institutional churches are bound in their
>> unscriptural traditions. I don't want to be a part of it. I walked away
>> from a life of institutional religion, and certainly don't want to yoke up
>> with it's baby brother who's poised to become the transverse image of the
>> sibling it hates. Those house churches who criticize me may just wake up one day
>> and realize that they've become the very thing they dispised.
>
> If I had been treated that way, I don't think I would be interested in
> house churches either.
>
> >>
>> Our church never wants to be associated with such a movement. Besides,
> the God we serve is bigger than any movement. Who can justify confining
> Him to one method of assembly/worship being better than another. At best,
> our ministries should be lined up with His word, and let him do the rest.
> The Lord "is doing" things through local churches of all types, who meet in
> all types of facilities. It is rather judgmental to insinuate that the
> Lord may cease to activate His power on our behalf simply because we move
> out of the house. In fact, He's the one leading us out of the house.
>
> Our church realizes that Ekklesia is not a building. We could care less if
> we worship in a barn or vacant warehouse. We simply need enough space to
> accomodate all the people that are coming to worship with us. Thank you
> for allowing me to vent my concerns. Please allow me to answer your
> question about why we would move into a facility. I shared some of these
> things with other HC's, but not in as much detail as I will share with you.
>
> 1. We have outgrown the house. We spread the gospel of Jesus Christ (as
> mandated in scripture), and people are coming to the Lord at a rate faster
> than we are equipped to accomodate them. People have come from as far as
> 40 miles away. In a town where there's a church on every corner, that's
> unbelieveable! Praise God!
>
> 2. Our congregants are people who came out of non-biblical lifestyles.
> Most of them have no prior church/biblical experience. They are still
> being discipled and are not ready to teach and/or lead a new gathering.
> Furthermore, none of them has expressed a call to ministry that would
> justify me putting them in that role. I look forward to the day when they
> can be released into ministry and become disciple-makers.
>
> 3. Most of our congregants do not want strangers in their homes. Many of
> them live in less-than-desireable conditions. Many of them are single
> women with small children that are concerned about safety.
>
> 4. I live in a restricted subdivision, and my neighbors are growing
> concerned. It is not Christ-like to offend them by continuing to blatantly
> break the neighborhood covenants. They certainly won't be won to the Lord
> that way. Besides there's no where to park but in the street.
>
> 5. My county considers me a criminal because the weekly gathering is a
> gross violation of county zoning laws. Were it not for our trust in the
> Lord, we'd operate in fear of being shut down and fined substantially.
>
> 6. My family must regain some measure of privacy. My wife is a stage 4
> breast cancer patient with tumors in her liver and brain, as well. We also
> have 2 toddler children. It's often awkward to have people knock on my
> door when we're trying to conduct family matters. It also leaves my family
> uncovered and exposed when I'm out of town on ocassion.
>
> 7. I need a little seperation. I live at home. I work at home. And I
> have church at home. Brother, I need a break from time to time. Some days
> it seems like I never leave the house. The walls are closing in on me.
>
> 8. Sometimes we have so many kids and babies at church, the adults have
> begun to cry out for a children's church. They experience a real
> interruption in the flow of worship by having to deal with them during
> service. We're not going to exile the children to the back room, but we
> need a place to minister to them appropriately.
>
> 9. The kids are crying out for a place to run and play after service. We
> will always continue to share some food and fellowship after service, but
> the kids can't run all over my yard and into the streets after church.
> It's dangerous, and it violates my subdivision rules. Furthermore, my
> homeowners insurance won't cover an injury.
>
> 10, We meet on more than just Sundays. We have a midweek bible group, and
> meetings for our youth group. Renting a recreation center is getting
> costly. Besides, renting is a poor use of God's money. That's why I don't
> rent my home.
>
> Well Coach, I could go on. But you get the general idea. We've got to
> move out of the house, and we need help to do it. If this offends HC's
> please accept my apology. But I'm a good pastor. I've dedicated my life
> to serving the Lord and serving people in ministry. God has been good to
> me, my family, and our young church. I trust that He won't offended when
> we move out. His opinion is my main concern. If I was concerned about
> men's opinions, I'd have quit long ago.
>
> Thank you for the time. I'm sure you have a rebuttal. I'd be eager to
> hear what you have to say. Again, please don't allow the impersonal
> qualities of email lead you to the conclusion that I'm angry, bitter, or
> out of control. These comments were issued without malice.
>
> I believe that. I don't sense that you are "angry, bitter, or out of
> control".
>
> >>
>> In Christ
> XXX
>
> (XXX's response)

Thank you BROTHER! Yes, you may forward the messages.

I am looking forward to establishing a new e-friendship with the hopes of
meeting you personally some day. In the meantime, we'll pray for you.
Please pray for us.

Numbers 6:24-26


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Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 13:50:08 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] House Church Venom

>I have two questions for us.
>
>First, do we need to repent for the angry, hostile tendencies within our
>movement? Even if we personally haven't responded to traditional church
>people with "venom", do we need to repent corporately? (Like Nehemiah in
>1:6 - "I and my father's house have sinned.") Will God bless what we are
>seeking to do with house churches if our hearts (or those of our brothers
>and sisters) are filled with unforgiveness and bitterness?

Hi John, hi all,

First, thanks for caring enough to listen to this frustrated person's
testimony, inconsistent though it is. He appeals to the internet masses
as a "house church" - then chides us to just be "the church." He "baits
and switches" us by telling us to send just a dollar but we'll get a tax
write-off for the bigger gifts. He faults house church folk for their
anger yet obviously has plenty of venom to spew, himself. In a city in
which church buildings are on every corner (and "Christian counselors"
are on every other corner) he launches a worldwide campaign to build
another one.

Jesus Christ - the greatest story ever sold!

The "angry and hostile tendencies within our movement" are real and
regrettable. But they have been around for years... AND.... Thankfully,
these tendencies are subsiding as truth displaces lies and it shall
certainly continue to do so.

John, how often shall we corporately repent on their behalf and without
their knowledge? Would not our efforts be better directed to engage them
in dialogue and reason with them from the Scriptures? We have a saying in
our home: "What you do not know is that which you have not been taught."
I think you see the application. Yes, it can get messy... which is why
critics outnumber participants by enormous margins.

Exactly who and where are these for whom we are corporately repenting?

>Second, do we need to support XXX even though he is committing "the
>unpardonable sin" (please note the quotation marks!) by seeking to obtain
>a building? Perhaps there is someone on our list who is in or near
>Atlanta who could meet with XXX and see his ministry first hand and
>make a recommendation to us.

The answer to XXX's dilemma appears to be right at the end of his
proverbial nose. By his own testimony, there are already churches galore
in his locality and when he shows up at any of them, desiring to love and
serve others, those in charge and those not in charge will be elated. All
parties win.

Rather than having his four walls close in on him, he will be free to
find a job if he has not found one already. If that sounds cruel,
consider the words of Paul: Let him that does not work not eat. --- These
hands provided for me and for them that were with me.

>I apologize for the length of this email but it seemed important for you
>to see the progression of emails.
>
>John White
>House Church Coach
>Denver, CO.

I will forward your letter to Steve Atkerson who has extensive knowledge
of Atlanta area house churches. Any person who couldn't be absorbed into
an existing traditional church could find houses churches there, also
with open arms.

I would be interested in knowing what the size of this group really is,
though I am not opposed to Christians owning real estate as long as it
does not own them.

Again, thanks for caring enough to engage in friendly dialogue with XXX.

David Anderson


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Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 15:12:53 EDT
From: DenverWH * aol
Subject: Re: [NTCP] House Church Venom

- --part1_15f.14e746c9.2acc9f35_boundary
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

David,

You asked: "Exactly who and where are these for whom we are corporately
repenting?" My answer: Those house church people who were wounded by the
institutional church and who are still bitter about it. (See Eph. 4:31-32)

You said: "John, how often shall we corporately repent on their behalf and
without their knowledge? Would not our efforts be better directed to engage them
in dialogue and reason with them from the Scriptures?" David, you may be
more familiar about this than I am but, frankly, I've seen very little
repentance of any kind in this area. I'm for both - repenting and reasoning.

"Rather than having his four walls close in on him, he will be free to
find a job if he has not found one already." My sense is that he already has
a job and has been doing church 'on the side'. His request was for a
facility, not an income.

I look forward to Steve or others in Atlanta giving us more information on
this situation.

John
 


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