New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches


NT Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, October 13 2002 Volume 02 : Number 179
Re: [NTCP] synagogue
RE: [NTCP] Some gems for our nugget-loving readership
RE: [NTCP] Some gems for our nugget-loving readership

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 18:49:57 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] synagogue

David Anderson wrote:

>First and foremost, our disagreement here doesn't affect our friendship
>in any way, dear brother. I know you desire the mind and will of the Lord
>as do I. If the church buildings of the Western World were used each day
>as educational centers as some (?) synagogues were, then I would feel
>much differently.
>
Dear Michael,

I thought I would piggy back on David's response to your latest
Synago-round. I guess I would have to say that I have often commended
the stewardship of a well used building, one that is used for education
when the saints are not meeting there.

I should also add that I am gun shy, none the less, where buildings for
religious purposes are concerned, because I still have to ask my
favorite question of the religious: "What page is that on?" There was
really only one building that Jesus was positive about, and that was the
building that He went away to prepare.

>First, please hear what I am *not* saying. I am *not* saying that the
>early church did not meet in houses. Or that they did not even *usually*
>meet in houses. They did. Are we clear on that? :-)
>
Granted, Michael.

>Now please hear what I *am* saying. I'm saying that there were
>*instances* when members of the early church *did* in fact meet in buildings
>built or modified specifically for worship. Hence we *cannot* be rigid with
>one paradigm and insist that house churches are the only Scriptural model,
>or even necessarily the *best* one in all circumstances. This unbending
>stance promotes needless division. I know most people on this list would
>not say that houses are the *only* or *best* way. But some would.
>
Yes, and I would be numbered among them.

>And have.
>
Guilty!

>Let's please review this and other evidence then make allowance for
>some in the body of Christ who feel the need, desire, leading, etc. to build
>a special building in which to meet together. To the glory of God. Okay?
>
If you have to.

>--MICHAEL
>Jerusalem
>
David responded:

>Brother, things start to blur as I try to make my way back to century 1.
>You are drawing us into a discussion encompassing synagogue and temple
>worship and what theologians call "the regulative principle of worship."
>Obviously, theologians do not speak with one voice on much of nothing.
>And to beat that, the word "synagogue" has multiple meanings. Putting
>dates on buildings isn't easy, either.
>
Actually, I don't recall that Michael has any difficulty putting dates
on buildings.

>Heather A. McKay, Sabbath and Synagogue: The Question of Sabbath Worship
>in Ancient Judaism (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1994). This volume grew
>out of an article published three years earlier: idem, "New Moon or
>Sabbath?" in The Sabbath in Jewish and Christian Traditions, edited by
>Tamara C. Eskenazi, Daniel J. Harrington and William H. Shea (New York:
>The Crossroads Publishing Company, 1991), 12-27. Beyond the defense of
>her overall hypothesis, it is also noteworthy that McKay agrees with Kee
>and Horsley's verdict on the existence (or rather, non-existence) of
>synagogue structures in pre-70 Palestine: "There is no archaeological or
>epigraphic evidence that points unequivocally to the existence of
>synagogue buildings in first-century Palestine . . . First-century
>'synagogues' are-on the whole-groups of male Jews. Any architectural
>remains of synagogue buildings in Palestine belong to a time later than
>the first century CE" (Sabbath and Synagogue, 250).
>
>I found a monster synagogue site, btw, complete with email list,. The
>above quote is an extract. More than a 1000 web links.
><http://faculty.smu.edu/dbinder/Intro_notes.html> Donald D. Binder,
>"Introduction," in Into the Temple Courts: The Place of the Synagogues in
>the Second Temple Period (Atlanta: The Society of Biblical Literature,
>1999), hypertext edition.
>
The show just goes on and on.

>People - good people - have always had the desire to build special things
>to improve accessibility to God.
>
Even at the point of their highest aspirations!

>2 Sam. 7:5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? But just as God allowed his people to divorce, to have a king, multiple marriages, He has cautiously allowed temples and synagogues, which he NEVER appointed.
>
Nice!

>Your message fails to mention the massive NT paradigm shift in which the
>omnipresent Deity indwells people rather than places.
>
Some paradigms shift harder than others.

>"Know you not thatYou are the temple?" "Living stones!" Such statements as these cannot but have implications about our real estate usage. The New Covenant message seems to suggest to me that it is no longer "business as usual" with
>respect to location.
>
Excellent!

>Christians are free to meet anywhere at anytime and yes, free to join in
>to construct things. But more expensive buildings going up to be used for
>a few hours a week is something the apostles nor their Master ever
>commanded or encouraged. Their trips to the open-doored synagogues were
>for evangelistic purposes rather than fellowship. This fact, historians
>have overwhelmingly confirmed, despite the exception you cite.
>
Seems to me most of our construction has been in response to religious
bondage or an introduction to such bondage.

>I'm not interested in alleged exceptions leading up to a divine warrant
>for church buildings (or a mono-bishop). Looking for exceptions and
>building upon them was the modus oporandi of the Pharisees.
>
Even the Pharisees of our own day.

> (I know it's tough, having had to change my own mind more than once. May
>God grant us more light.)
>
Or, at least, light that is not darkness.

>I would also caution you about taking what the Jews did as valid evidence
>for our practices. These are they who killed God's prophets and his Son.
>Furthermore, they have a long history of "innovation" with respect to
>belief and practice. And, they possess strong inclinations to mix the old
>and new. The synagogue was from and for unconverted Jews. You would be
>hard pressed to find a reputable commentary to confirm the synagogue
>which James mentioned to mean "building" rather than the assembly, itself.
>
>It's late in the game, you all. If, in this generation, millions need to
>hear of and bow before Jesus, why would it even cross the minds of
>believers to venture into expensive, time-wasting, resource-draining real
>estate ventures? What a needless hurdle! If Jesus Christ were here today,
>I sincerely believe that He would gaze upon our temples and synagogues
>and, in view of his unfulfilled great commission, ask with Isaiah
>(chapter 1): Who hath required this of you?
>
I have another concern. It is with the previews of coming divisions
which Paul wept over at Ephersus for three and a half years. This to say
that, even before the canon of Scripture was closed, Paul was
passionately warning of a going down hill fast situation even among the
elders of the churches he was instrumental in founding. So if there was
a tendency to hang around synagogues already in existence, or a zeal for
building new meeting places, in which to put their theology in a box,
that problem was anticipated by Paul's tears.

Now this is not to say, that "house church" Christians are exempt from
divisive spirits, but the erection of buildings is the sure fruit of
divisive spirits. These buildings are places to put the believers that
we manage to draw away after ourselves. Let's call it evangelical
network marketing.

As David has said, it's getting late in the game, and we are
increasingly in danger of winding up with cases of unsold product in the
basements of the buildings we have erected for the perpetuation of our
misunderstandings.

Yours, in Christ,

Jay

P.S. If I have seemed a little short, it's only because this is feeling
like dejavu all over again.


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


Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2002 18:13:42 -0400
From: "Richard Wright" <wright47 * sc.rr>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Some gems for our nugget-loving readership

I agree. The issue is not the location, more the form of the meeting.
Does it allow for the free moving of the Spirit in His people?

Buildings, rightly or wrongly, are one of the symbols of the IC, and
evoke a negative response in many who are seeking to distance themselves
from their IC roots. Still, there is a point where a building
unavoidably becomes an issue (size, opulence, focus?).

Blessings,

Dick
Phil.3:12-14
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ntcp * homechurch [mailto:owner-ntcp * homechurch] On
> Behalf Of Deborah
> Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 7:41 AM
> To: ntcp * homechurch
> Subject: [NTCP] Some gems for our nugget-loving readership
>
> Now please hear what I *am* saying. I'm saying that there were
> *instances* when members of the early church *did* in fact meet in
> buildings
> built or modified specifically for worship. Hence we *cannot* be
rigid
> with
> one paradigm and insist that house churches are the only Scriptural
model,
> or even necessarily the *best* one in all circumstances. This
unbending
> stance promotes needless division. I know most people on this list
would
> not say that houses are the *only* or *best* way. But some would.
And
> have. Let's please review this and other evidence then make allowance
for
> some in the body of Christ who feel the need, desire, leading, etc. to
> build
> a special building in which to meet together. To the glory of God.
Okay?

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions/planting ~ ~ ~
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 09:33:47 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Some gems for our nugget-loving readership

>
>I agree. The issue is not the location, more the form of the meeting.
>Does it allow for the free moving of the Spirit in His people?
>
>Buildings, rightly or wrongly, are one of the symbols of the IC, and
>evoke a negative response in many who are seeking to distance themselves
>from their IC roots. Still, there is a point where a building
>unavoidably becomes an issue (size, opulence, focus?).
>
>Blessings,
>
>Dick
>Phil.3:12-14

HI Dick,

Today's prevalent mentality among the saints is that "church planting"
means getting a "church building." This is one of the very few things
that the church agrees upon, in fact.

Certainly, buildings can and should be used for the Kingdom of God. I
wish the saints controlled them all everywhere and utilized them so.

Surely, if "houses of worship" were needed, the apostles would have
encouraged their construction. Yet, nowhere did they suggest in all their
correspondence that home meetings were second-best.

I can't help but notice that when the church was on the move, turning the
world upside down, there was no interest in constructing "church
buildings."

David Anderson


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #179< Previous Digest Next Digest >

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