New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Tuesday, October 8 2002 Volume 02 : Number 176
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
[NTCP] Home/Institutional Church
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Home/Institutional Church
RE: [NTCP] House Church Venom

Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 16:16:51 -0400
From: "Paul Hudson Jr." <Linkh * mcdowell.main.nc.us>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

There's a title designed to draw some attention.

I shared an idea with the house church I go to. Maybe we can grow really big and
build a really big house to hold all the people in the house church.
Instead of about 20 people on chairs and sofas, we can bring in some really
long sofas- rows of them-- to fill up with all the masses of people coming
in. Someone suggested putting a pulpit in the front.

Of course, we were just joking.

"Organize" can mean to start a denomination, or to make a 501(c)(3)
corporation out of a church meeting.

But on the other hand, we don't want to be _disorganized_ just because we
are trying so hard not to be like 'intitutional Chrisitanity.' The Bible
teaches us that we are the body of Christ, so we are to be an 'organism.'
So some make a lot about being an organism rather than an organization.

But we need to realize that the Bible does not teach us to _not_ be
organized. There is no command that says, "Thou shalt be disorganized" in
the holy scriptures. Some are more focused on a philosophy created in
reaction to 'IC' Christianity that they focus more on this philosophy than
the teachings of Jesus.

I'm just waiting for someone to come along and carry this philosophy of not
being 'organized' to the extreme. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came
along and started teaching that we shouldn't schedule any meetings in any
particular place, since we are supposed to be 'organically' led to meet
spontaneously. Fortunately, I've never seen anyone go that far. I wouldn't
be surprised if someone who held to an extreme anti-IC philosophy said that
we couldn't sing pre-written hymns or choruses, because that was too
'organized'-- and that we had to sing only new, spontaneous songs created on
the spur of the moment. Such songs are beautiful, but there is a lot to be
said for singing hymns that everyone knows. There is also a lot to be said
with meeting at a pre-arranged time.

I don't think we should 'organize' into a denomination. But I do think
there is a place for being 'organized' as opposed to being disorganized.
The Jerusalem church organized a feeding program for widows. Paul spoke of
a 'list' when writing about widows to Timothy. That sounds to me like there
was a deliberate effort to 'organize' an outreach within their congregation,
to care for widows. Paul and Barnabas made a deliberate effort to collect
money for the poor saints in Jerusalem. The elders received the money. It
had to be administrated. One translation of I Corinthians 12 mentions the
gift of 'administrations.' There is a definite need for organizational
skills in the body of Christ.

Link Hudson
Marion NC


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


Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 17:40:45 EDT
From: CWOWI * aol
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Thank the Lord he organized the universe very nicely from sub atomic particles to the largest galaxies...ha!<BR>
John


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


Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 22:49:50 EDT
From: JoelBRJr * aol
Subject: [NTCP] Home/Institutional Church

I am new to the Home Church idea, having just left the pastorate of an
institutional church, so forgive me for being so naive, but shouldn't we each
go where God sends us? Many people are not going to be comfortable in an
institutional church setting, many people are not going to comfortable in a
small home church setting. Perhaps I am just being too idealistic, but I
think I remember reading something about God loving us all ... the whole
world. Wouldn't that include all people, in all churches?

Joel


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


Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 23:12:38 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Jim wrote:

>But if we start down the path of following other men, forming our human organizations, and being led by human logic, we will fall -- just as so many before us have also fallen.
>
David Anderson wrote:

>>The early saints certainly were a part of an organizational structure and
>>support system, namely the church.
>>
CWOWI * aol wrote:

> So while I agree we are not to be linked together to arrogantly make a
> name for ourselves, we should follow the example of the early church
> and be linked to each other...

George Howell wrote:

> Then the Lord showed me that we need to be networked with others of
> like mind each in TRUE SUBMISSION to the other.
>
Paul Hudson Jr. wrote:

>I don't think we should 'organize' into a denomination. But I do think
>there is a place for being 'organized' as opposed to being disorganized.
>
Dear Jim, David, John, Grorge, Link, and others,

The question is no longer "this mountain or at Jerusalem", it's not even
"that building or this living room", not even "this structure or that
organism", The question is whether or not we recognize Jesus as being
Lord of relationship. Our being networked together must be His doing,
not ours. He is The One Who puts the Body together. It is not a matter
of "like mindedness", "common emphasis", "racial background", "cultural
background", not even "gender background". It is a matter of the doing
of Jesus, and His doing stands in contrast to the "work of man's hands",
no matter in what form. Our doing tends to be born of alienation, and
reaction. His doing is born of identification, and redemption.

Please, let's not organize, rather, let's stand back and see the
organization of The Lord. That seeing is born of revelation that comes
down from above. On that rock, even the seeing of Christ in one another,
Jesus has promised to build His Church.

Yours in Him,

Jay


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


Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 06:12:00 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Oh yes, one other thing: The Kingdom of God is not "Let's make a deal",
it's a "New Covenant" of the Spirit, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Life put the old creation together, and New Life can do the same for the
New creation, if we would just stop crucifying the New Life, by our old
doing.

Jay

P.S. I hope that's not too allegorical.


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


Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 11:16:42 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Well, ok then.

I see lots of emotional responses to the thoughts I shared. And I will admit
that my ideas go contrary to human nature.

But that's my real point. We have a tendency to promote our own selves (or to
promote other men we respect and admire), and to band together -- not only as
believers, but even without Christ.

We can gain much from the Scriptures, and from history, if we will pay
attention. Martin Luther did not set out to have his own church. Not did
Calvin. Nor did Wesley. Nor did Menno. And so on.

There is such a great tendency in us all to want to preserve exactly what we
think we have -- so we seal it up, define it, build a few walls around it,
articulate a few rules, and pass along our tradition. "This is the way Brother
so and so said it should be done. And Brother so and so was a mighty man of
God."

If we're willing to turn our backs on old IC traditions, looking for the
reality of Christ in us, then how do we fulfill that by embracing and
generating more traditions? When we start following men, aside from the
Scriptures, and aside from the Spirit of God at work in our own hearts and
lives, then tradition is exactly what we will end up with.

All emotion aside, brothers and sisters, we will do well to recognize not only
our strengths (all of which are given us by God's grace) but also our old human
weaknesses. We can pretend that we would never go wrong, that what we have
could not degenerate into mere tradition. But that pretense would only help us
to go there faster.

God Himself does pull together His people in various ways. He certainly does
give us opportunity to meet and share with many others as we go about our work
and service. He is God, after all. And as a couple of you wrote, He is quite
capable of doing His own organizing.

But He does not work to please every crowd, or to provide for us a great shrine
to our faith. Rather, we have opportunity now to simply live out our faith,
and to share it from house to house, meeting and having fellowship in the
living Spirit of Christ.

If we focus on following Jesus, we have life. When we lower own sights to
following other people, we slip away from what God calls us to.

If we stay awake we can see great things accomplished. If we allow ourselves
to be lulled asleep, we will slip back into the coma that so much of the modern
church is in right now.

Jim


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


Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 08:14:20 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

The following are the observations of Bill Thurman. Last week I asked
Bill if I could share what he wrote with the list. This morning he gave
me his ok. I think what he has said below, breaks some real ground where
our style, need and ability to communicate with each other is concerned,
and so I send it along with love, mine and, I trust, his.

Jay

"Observing the Golden Rule in Verbal Commitments

This is not about keeping promises.

It's about tearing into notions instead of men or women.

1. Note the rationale of the protest by Nicodemus to his colleagues
about hearing from a teacher himself, for a valid discovery of what he's
up to:
John 07,47-53:
<<Then answered them the Pharisees, "Are ye also deceived? Have any of
the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people, who
knoweth not the law, are cursed." Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that
came to Jesus by night, being one of them),
"Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he
doeth?" They answered and said unto him, "Art thou also of Galilee?
Search, and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." And every man
went unto his own house.>>

Do you recall any rabbinic versions of 'the golden rule'? If so, why
would they not recall it in this situation? Or do you regard the account
as fictional?

It looks as if much of churchdom and shuldom fails to observe any golden
rule of fairness in 'fielding' one another's 'theological' views.

2. Most of those who adhere to the various segments of churchdom or
shuldom, have in their scriptures an assumed 'way', literally more like
our word 'road', that does not usually coincide with their chosen
segment. Their scriptures offer what more nearly resembles tree ripened
fruit, whereas their peculiar 'mark' or 'label' may be as internally
distinctive as a packaged product in a supermarket.

An ancient use of the word 'heresy' may help us understand an impression
that outsiders often have of 'the way'.

'Heresy', if better understood, would not be automatically seem to sound
an alarm, or point a finger at what 'rattles our cage' or 'upsets our
applecart'.

Paul probably used aipecic = haeresis > heresy without the word's
carrying any pejorative import, when he said in Acts 24,14-15:
<<But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call
heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which
are written in the law and in the prophets, and have hope toward God,
which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of
the dead, both of the just and unjust.>>

He probably only meant that they were labelling the 'goods' he was
pushing and adherents he was enlisting as just one more 'school of
thought'. The sense of interest to churchdom seems to have sprung out of
the generic thought map, as a would be tracing of usage, thus: touching,
clinging > adhesion, adherence, choice > tenet, set of tenets > school
of thought, sect > clique, divisive dogmatic peculiarity > rotten notion.

Most of what 'rattles your cage' should not peremptorily be dismissed as
a rotten notion. You should probably get a grip on it, before you decide
to toss it around.

3. As an example of the apostolic condemnation of aipecic = haeresis >
heresy in a pejorative sense, take note of the catalog of sins in
Galatians 05,19-21:
<<Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings,
murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like, of the which I tell you
before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.>>

This probably refers to party spirit, or a cliquish attitude, and has
little to do with accuracy in teaching or the absolute reliability of
information.

4. Ponder too the plethora of observations and advice in wisdom literature,
e.g. that pride often seems automatic in a disposition not to use one's
books, or witholding the effort needed to understand, as Proverbs 26,16
depicts:
<<The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can
render a reason.>>
e.g. how one seems right until another probes his premises, as Proverbs
18,17 depicts:
<<He that is first in his own cause seemeth just, but his neighbour
cometh and searcheth him.>>
e.g. the character blot of trying to defeat a matter short of
understanding it, as Proverbs 18,13 depicts:
<<He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame
unto him.>>
e.g. to have such concern for what a man of understanding may want to
present, that, instead of thinking about what he may respond, one tries
to compose good questions, to get deeper into that man's thinking, as
Proverbs 20,05 depicts:
<<Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of
understanding will draw it out.>>
e.g. not only not interfering with what another thinks he needs to
present, but also avoiding wording that generates 'more heat than
light', as Proverbs 15,01 depicts:
<<A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.>>

5. It usually displeases me or disappoints me to hear the complaint that
a matter is either too technical or oversimplified.

If someone complains of technicality, you will often be right to infer
that he does not want to study the problem until all the factors that
may solve it can be clearly understood.

As for oversimplifying, there is no such thing. Those who complain of it
may mean that relevant factors or elements have been left out. Moreover,
that can be a valid criticism, but I would call that ignorance, in the
sense of ignoring.

To simplify, however, as thoroughly as one can ought to be a major
objective, especially in considering the abstract or abstruse subject
matter of religious viewpoints.

6. An assumed, but sometimes unstated, and maybe not even realized,
'bottom line' in guidance often determines what a contender means by
'discernment'.

Some think that they have a direct spirit pipeline to G_d. And we all
should, as the wording in 1st John 02,26-27 shows:
<<These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye
need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you
of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught
you, ye shall abide in him.>>

But, when the results of individual anointings are being manifested, the
platform needs to be completely open and yet orderly, as 1st Corinthians
shows:
<<Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any
thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his
peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all
may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the
prophets.>>

The 'two or three' probably refer to logoi, not to prophets. They all
might prophesy one by one. A logos does not refer to a detached 'word',
but to a coherent statement on one subject, of about the size of a
paragraph. This would allow anything revealed to another that might
influence the understanding to be presented while the matter was fresh.

In a 'theater church' only those designated are expected to say
anything. For all to judge anyone or convict anyone would seem
repugnant. In many it would seem scandalous to say anything that might
be construed as if anyone knew the status before G_d of anyone else.

A 'theater church' silences everybody except the preset, or rehearsed,
cast of performers.

If the Chief Shepherd has prophets and apostles for His whole body, and
the Spirit should send them to a church, it would be unlike a usual
church to invite them or even allow them to speak. They could not ask
any question or make any comment in most 'theater churches', except by
interrupting. Therefore truth that might be vital to the people would
not be welcomed, but resented.

Paul commanded the brothers at Thessalonica to test all things. He used
a plural verb. He did not address a single leader or a select group of
leaders.

Every disciple has this responsibility in every assembly that will ever
be held, but this seems to be ignored by both those who stage the
performance and of those who attend it.

7. Not only a modernizing mentality but also reactionary conservatism
hinders the true Word of G_d.

Some think of their 'Bible' as if it dropped out of heaven in the very
form in which they have it. They suppose that it contains all the
answers they need, and that those answers must be infallible. Sadly
enough, many assume that their opinion of 'what it says' does not fail
at all to represent exactly what the Father wants all to get from it.
The concept of inerrancy does not always venture this far into the realm
of self-deception, but it very often does.

Even if each text of each document of Tanakh, or the Hebrew scriptures,
and the 27 Greek Messianic ones were totally free from mistakes, whose
idea of what it says would be so safe thate it would not lead anyone
astray in any regard?

Would it be the idea intended by the human author who wrote it down?

Would it be the exact message that the Supreme Father wants me to get
from it?

Could what the Spirit wants me to understand now be different from what
the first man or woman who declared the words intended?

No church's 'Bible' can make mention of 'the Bible', because it did not
yet exist at the time when any of the documents in it was being
composed. It therefore, and additionally, cannot speak of itself as 'the
Word of G_d'. Furthermore, 'the Word' became flesh, not manuscripts or
printed books.

A typical protestant reaction to the above has been: "If it is not G_d's
word, then whose word is it?" Just look and see. Look at "Command that
these stones be made bread." That was satan's word. "I will not deny
you." was Peter's word. "It is expedient for us." was Caiaphas' word.
But now for a closer look.

You might rethink the word of Caiaphas and see if any human dogma of
'inerrancy' helps your understanding of that. According to John 11,49-51:
<<And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year,
said unto them, "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is
expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the
whole nation perish not." And this spake he not of himself, but being
high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that
nation.>>

Does what Caiaphas intended to convey by his original statement seem
sufficiently clear? I would say so.

Does it incidentally show that the Most High may honor an office, even
when the man who holds that office resists the choices that the Most
High would like for him to make?

Does it show that spiritual men may receive an inspired message even
from words that had a somewhat opposite intent?

The writer calls it a prophecy. If every prophecy fits the human
definition of 'inerrancy', how can the certainty of a prophetic
statement fluctuate, or vary, after it has been uttered? Could one not
infer this from

6. a few of the major procedural implications regarding judicial
examination in the context of Torah and discerning of spirits in the
context of the original messianic qahal 'church'.

I do not mind it a bit, if someone vents vituperation on any of my
results of study or reflection. The more others dissect my assertions or
findings of fact, the more I stand to learn from it.

If one of my worthier pedagogues in mathematics labelled one of my
proposed solutions as false or unintelligent, that did not sound to me
as if he were branding me as dishonest or unintelligent.

Some of my brotherly moorings and advice:

Therefore do not 'take it personally', if I label some claim or
proposition that you set forth as nutty or worse.

It helps one to improve his self-control and his capacity to learn, if
one does not flaunt his ideas like a 'chip on his shoulder'. This seems
to be one of the major manifestations of denominational partisanship,
known as 'heresy' in scripture.

Opinion-makers of churchdom often applied the term heresy in a
pejorative vein, to dogmatic proposals that did not meet the approval of
the influential or powerful in churchdom. In the ancient Greek targums
of Tanakh and the 27 documents, however, its basic signification
vacillated among '[special] choice' '[set of] tenet[s]' 'peculiar party
line' and 'school of thought'. The import where it seems condemnatory
had a sense more like that of 'provincial attitude' than like 'false
doctrine', 'unhealthy teaching', or 'sick dogma'.

This does not mean that I do not defend what I think as stoutly as I see
fit. It just means that, if someone tries to clobber it, I want to
consult the Chief Rabbi about its degree of priority. If it deserves
attention, I want to react by trying to understand the rationale behind
it and testing that rationale. And that means that my response may range
anywhere from revising 'my thinking' to 'tearing it to shreds'.

Friends tell me I have a penchant for the latter. It seems that way to
them, because so much of churchdom and shuldom has been built on islands
of floating garbage.

Even the most intelligent of us all omit vital data or use stupid
methods for a long time on some problem, before a demonstrably valid
breakthrough enlightens us about the matter.

shalom,

b
~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions/planting ~ ~ ~

info page: http://world-missions.org/planting <><><>


Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 08:51:37 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Home/Institutional Church

Hi Joel and list:

Been inactive for while on the list.

I think the issue here is that we do not understant the nature of the church
and its function and purpose. If the church is the body, and is the
representative of all that is in Christ Jesus, and is an expression of the
fullness of his life, then how the church acts, and behaves and interacts
should reflect his LIFE and his CHARACTER. Unfortunately, when we reduce
church to a bunch of meetings, we miss out on the primary reason we gather,
and that is to seek His face, and to experience His life in us and through
us by His Word and Spirit. This means that intimacy and small group
dynamics must be pre-eminent as the "form", so to speak, of church, in order
to experience His life in real intimacy and expression.

The institutional form doesn't allow for intimacy and expression. It is bent
on going through religious exercises. Those who desire that usually know
nothing but that, and they are comfortable with that and desire that. It is
all they know about "church". The I/C (institutional church) is more
reflective of the OT religious system with the professional clergy effective
being little different than the Levitical priesthood! We are under grace,
and in the church which is to be a priesthood of believers unto the Lord and
in mutual subjection one to another as unto him. The I/C can't operate very
well in that form. If the basic purpose is to worship the Lord in intimacy
and life, then the I/C system in out of sync with that reality.

But by the same token, that religious mindset and strong desire for
religious structure and form can be just as much an issue in a gathering
that meets in a home. The geographical location of the gathering may change
(from religious building to a house) but the very nature of the gathering
may not change at all, and then the only thing you have done is move
location, and the church itself is no different! I have seen some churches
that call themselves HC, that are nothing more than the I/C that meets in a
home.

There are people who are afraid of intimacy and afraid of being real. Many
do not understand or desire to experience a deeper mystical union with the
Lord and other believers. It is safer to gather for a Bible study with
someone in charge, than to wait and rest in the presence of the Lord, and
wait for his direction to move through the people gathered there, through
the word and through impressions of the Spirit. There is less risk and more
predictability.

For myself... I will take intimacy and life over all that I ever knew when I
pastored a traditional church. Hands down. No question about it. If people
want religion, then they can have it. I want relational Christianity, where
we gather and we experience life and community and fullness together, and
not just another meeting!

Regards,
Sam


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


Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 15:23:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Vanessa DiDomenico <van3hijos * yahoo>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] House Church Venom

I will never believe that God has called someone to build, especially
outside a very, very poor place where there isn't even a house to meet in.
Vanessa


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #176 < Previous Digest Next Digest >



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