New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Wednesday, October 9 2002 Volume 02 : Number 177
[NTCP] RE: House Church Venom
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
RE: [NTCP] RE: House Church Venom
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!
[NTCP] Intimate Relationship
[NTCP] PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM LIST- NO MORE E-MAILS PLEASE
Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!


Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 18:41:36 -0400
From: Marti Grahl <nestmom * nestmom>
Subject: [NTCP] RE: House Church Venom

At 03:23 PM 10/8/02 -0700, you wrote:
>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.

I suppose it's a good thing that God doesn't require a unanimous approval
from our brothers and sisters before we do as He asks of us. I would never
presume to definitively say what I believe God will or will not ever call
someone to do.

I truly don't mean this in a nasty way... I just bristle when I hear anyone
say "I will never..."
Marti
Wife to Chris, and mom to Emilee, Rachel, Katie, and Becky
Smithsburg, MD
"Unanswered questions aren't nearly as dangerous as unquestioned answers"


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Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 23:40:09 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Some excellent and thought-provoking insights there, Bro. Jay. Thanks for
taking the time to share it. Please pass along my appreciation to Bill Thurman.

I wonder if it would be ok to also post it to the [alt.religion.christian.home-
church] ng I am a part of? I think it is well worth the reading.

Jim


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Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 19:45:20 -0400
From: "George Howell" <elgeo * attbi>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] RE: House Church Venom

Marti,
I agree Never is a word that will come back to cause us much trouble
There are those today who say that God does not perform miracles today
as He did in New Testament times but just because they don't believe it
does not make it so. He does signs and wonders today as He did then, no
matter what people may say or believe.

George

ACTS 17:6b


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Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 21:23:48 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

goodwordusa * att wrote:

>Some excellent and thought-provoking insights there, Bro. Jay. Thanks for
>taking the time to share it. Please pass along my appreciation to Bill Thurman.
>
>I wonder if it would be ok to also post it to the [alt.religion.christian.home-
>church] ng I am a part of? I think it is well worth the reading.
>
>Jim
>

Dear Jim,

I think you would have Bill's blessing in sending it along.

Bless you in the sending of it,

Jay

>
>>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,


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Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 22:37:14 -0400
From: theologuscrucis * cs
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Howdy, all!

Thought I'd chime in briefly -- I wish I had the time to reply in depth, but my time amd access to a computer is limited.

Actually, this thread has made me think. This has much to do with worldliness, doesn't it? To organize or not to organize?

Every since I was a little kid I've heard sermons on worldliness. The AG churches that I grew up in stressed the Weslyean/holiness message, so I didn't dance, smoke, drink, or go to movies. Now that I have returned to my home town while my Mom is sick, I have run head on into this type of preaching again.

But really, what is worldliness? These same churches are non-profit corporations, with boards, business meetings, dept. heads, 2/3 majortity voting, etc. I think worldliness is how people live and accomplish things without faith. Whatever is not of faith is sin, the Word informs us. The organizational structure of the corporation is an Enlightenment invention -- a board was a piece of wood until the industrial Revolution. This structure was invented to get things done in a world where God is dead -- to achieve what gives substance to the the "world" as described by John:

"For everything in the world -- the cravings of the sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world."

So what happens when the church is more worldly than the world? Organization and technique, our twin idols? Someone wrote that the tower of babel had at its core motivation rebellion against God, that by organization they could build something that would keep them above the judgment of God. God came down and confused them because if mankind united in this way, nothing would be impossible. Our pastors act like powerful CEOs, our communities are tore by the politics of the constitution and by law, and our goals are achieved when we all work together as a team, as Pink Floyd once sang ;o)

We may live lives that are examples -- no dancing, no drinking, no smoking, etc., -- and we have to explain how we are any different than the Mormons or the Buhdists. We can use the latest techniques and technology and "leadership" principles, a la George Barna or Maxwell, but then we're gonna have to explain how we're any different from Ben and Jerry's or MacDonalds or IBM.

I think we're gonna have to rediscover the power of the Gospel. Paul said that he wasn't ashamed of the Gospel as it was the power of God to salvation for whoever believes. He told the Corinthians that God was pleased thru the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. And it seems like the meetings that he advocated were centered around that message, i.e. the sacraments, the proclaimation of the word. That conviction and trust in the person that the message proclaims will provide the unity that church organization and technique will, whether IC or HC.

The IC depends on organizational structure and technique to fulfill the goals of their evangelism and outreach goals. But what about those not in the IC that stresses vunerability, intimacy, spontanaity, and relationship? Have some of us, me included, exchanged one set of worldiness for another as these are not the gospel but results of the living of the message?

Just thinking. I look forward to reading more of this thread as it progresses. Please continue to pray for my Mom, as she is really losing weight due to cancer. She is very sick.

Blessings to you all,

TC


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Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 23:05:16 EDT
From: JoelBRJr * aol
Subject: [NTCP] Intimate Relationship

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Sam,
I too will take an intimate relationship over sterility anytime. However, I
have to take exception with the idea of simply writing those off who prefer
the old traditions. Let us remember that God used both the small, intimate
meeting as well as the institutionalized church to keep HIS church alive and
thriving. Writing off what He has used is dangerous. Moving on, in
relationship with Him, is maturity. Many people are not ready for such
maturity, and may never be. Should turn from them and consider them inferior?
I don't think so.

As you said... It is safer to gather for a Bible study with someone in
charge...

However let us also remember that when Christ taught He was In Charge. And
Ephesians 4:11 tells us that He Gave some to be in charge of various
situations and at various times.
I write this in defense of neither one way or the other, but in defense of
liberty given by Christ to worship as each sees fit - I prefer intimate
relationship, but I am not superior to those who haven't arrived at that
point. Both home church and Institutional church are Biblical - Old and New
Testament - there is room for both.
In Love,
Joel


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Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 12:57:49 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Let's Organize!

Hi, TC.

I'll be praying for your mom that the Lord will show her every kindness, both
in this life and in the age to come.

I appreciated your insights. As long as we believers are human beings on this
planet we'll have the flesh, the world, and the evil one to contend with (but
see Isaiah 49:25).

If we lose sight of that simple reality, then we'll just keep making up more
traditions as we go. Only as we choose each day to know and fellowship with
our Lord Jesus, and choose to follow Him, can we avoid some of the pitfalls of
the flesh.

While it is good to walk together with many brothers and sister, it's not good
to simply follow each other. It does no good to set our eyes on each other, or
to think of this one or that one as a "giant of the faith," for then we pattern
our lives after men and women, and not after Christ.

Obviously we will influence each other, and we'll be influenced by each other.
And this is why I think we need to be aware of God's work in us, by His Spirit
and His Word. And we must also be aware of the working of the flesh against
us, and the world's impact on us, and the temptations/lies of the evil one.

How can we know what is what, and who is who?

We must pay attention (be alert). We must allow the Lord to speak to us
continually through His Word that is in Scripture, and by His own Spirit living
in us. And as we believe God's Word, taking it to heart, then we will also
become more discerning.

But none of us will be perfect in these things. And that is why we need the
Body of Christ. Not just our local gathering, or our little circle of Christian
buddies who always agree with us -- but the whole Body. We need the input of
brothers and sisters (in whom God is also working) to provoke us, and stir us,
and to help remind us of the things we're not giving much attention to.

The Body is made of of many different members, and many different kinds of
members. If we're happy to just stay in our own little box, in our own little
traditions that we're busy perfecting each day ["We have our own ideas of HC,
and that's all we want!"], then we will not listen to others who are outside
our little group, and we'll not profit from what God is doing in and through
other members of the Body of Christ. Instead, we'll have lots of folks wanting
to be a foot, or a hand, or whatever.

And then we'll wonder why we can't walk straight or function well as the Body
of Christ.

The more we apply our own organization, our own rules, our own likes and
dislikes (as in "I think we should all raise our hands on the second chorus,
but sit down for the last song," etc.), or whatever, to the church, the less we
see Christ Himself living in our midst, and the more we see of our own fleshly
personalities. To avoid this, we must always be working to return to the Lord
Himself, and seeking His face.

The Scripture says --
Hosea 12:6 says: "So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and
justice, and wait on your God continually."

Psalm 105:4, David says: "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face
continually!"

We must always be turning away from the habits and tendencies of the flesh and
turning to the Lord. That, I believe, is a conscious and daily effort or
choice we must make. Otherwise we drift right back into the same old patterns
that lead to death.

We who know Jesus, who have been transformed by faith in Him, do not like to
think of ourselves as people given over to mere philosophy or religious
tradition. But unless Christ Himself is our daily Guide in all things, we will
slip back into theological speculations, building our own philosophies, making
up our own rules, and establishing human traditions that have no life in them
at all.

Jesus said, ìIt is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The
words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)

His words are still true today. Our human brains do not build God's kingdom.
Not do they see God's kingdom or understand it.

Paul quotes from OT Scripture to say, ì'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor
have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those
who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit..." (1 Cor
2:9,10a)

The Church does not need the wisdom and cunning and cleverness of men. What we
need is the Lord Himself.

Thanks for sharing, Bro. TC. Hope to hear more form you soon.

Jim


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