New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, October 24 2002 Volume 02 : Number 187

[NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
[NTCP] Crushing Circumstances
RE: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
Re: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
RE: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
RE: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
RE: [NTCP] Crushing Circumstances
[NTCP] Growing Churches in Resistant Areas
[NTCP]: Question -- What's the Water?
Re: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
Re: [NTCP]: Question -- What's the Water?

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 13:15:13 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?

I received this email question from a good brother in Christ. I thought others
might also want to answer.
- ---------------------- Forwarded Message: ---------------------
From: "Espen Knut Trydal" <espent * myrealbox>
To: "Jim" <goodwordusa * att>
Subject: Question
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 00:35:38 +0200

I have a question:

What is meant by "water" in John 3:5? Is it baptism, or is it something else?
This is a verse I have wondered on for a long time (maybe for years :-)
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and
spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! (Joh 3:5)

In CristouV IhsouV,

Espen


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


Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 13:23:01 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: [NTCP] Crushing Circumstances

Difficult times are ahead.

I believe with all my heart that the western Church will soon be tested by
fire. Our faith will be outlawed. Our creeds will be considered as evil. And
believers will be forced to choose between their faith and their "freedom."
(This is one reason I believe home churches are so important. Private homes
and secret meetings may soon be the only places where true believers can gather
for worship and fellowship.)

Why does God put believers in such trying circumstances?

Why does He allow us -- even today -- to be surrounded by unbelievers, by
calloused men and women who mock God, and who hate the message of Jesus
Christ? Is it because we are not important to Him? Is it because we are weak
in prayer or in our faith? Is God casting us off when we are put in the middle
of an ungodly crowd?

In our desire to be like the New Testament believers, we should not overlook
the following bit of NT history, taken from the Book of Acts.

That day [when Stephen was put to death -- see Acts 7] a severe
persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles
were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria... Now those
who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went
down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them...
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go toward the south
to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a wilderness
road.) So he got up and went.

Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen
of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem
to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the
prophet Isaiah.

Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over to this chariot and join it."
So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He
asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip
to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was
reading was this:

"Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth."

The eunuch asked Philip, "About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say
this, about himself or about someone else?" Then Philip began to speak, and
starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.
As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch
said, "Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?"
And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."
And he replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." He
commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went
down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched
Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But
Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he
proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts
8:1, 4,5 & 26-40)

I can see in this passage of Scripture that God is at work in all
circumstances. I'm sure I would've prayed for God to stop the horrible
persecution of believers. That's how I pray now for those in China and in
other places around the world. But God was not silenced or held back by the
unbelief and actions of evil men.

In fact, just the opposite seems to have happened: "...all except the apostles
were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria... Now those
who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word." (Acts
8:1,4)

Why does God put us in such trying circumstances?

One thing is certain. God does not allow us to be in the company of evil
unbelievers so that we can be ashamed of the Gospel. Why should we be ashamed
of our faith? The world is not ashamed of its evil. Unbelievers are not
ashamed of their sin. They do not know that they will most certainly be judged
by a perfectly righteous God. And so they mock us. They curse at everything.
They say and do many evil things.

But we also can speak and act. We have the opportunity to share with them the
joy and hope that comes to us in Jesus Christ. We do not need to be
intimidated by evil. We do not need to be afraid. The fire that we possess in
our souls (by faith in Jesus Christ) is far greater in power and life than all
the evil that lost men and women can do. We have a message of life and truth
and wisdom that outshines all the covering darkness of evil in this world. And
the fire in our belly is none other than the very Spirit of God.

We have Jesus Christ who leads us onward, in every battle, to the victory. It
is a victory of life.

When Philip went to the city of Samaria, so many people believed in the Lord
that Jerusalem had to send apostles down there to see if this was really God
(How can Samaritans be saved?). And God continued His great work of grace.
What the Lord had done back in Jerusalem was not the end of grace, but the
beginning, just as Jesus had said.

For the Lord Jesus Himself said, "It is not for you to know the times or
periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in
Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts
1:7,8)

What began in Jerusalem was to continue on into all of Judea and Samaria, and
to the ends of the earth. And so it continues even now -- into every
neighborhood, every factory, every city street, every dark alley, and into the
countryside. It goes into Salt Lake City, into San Francisco, into London,
Paris, Sidney, all across Africa, and into every city, and every tiny village
of every land, and every island of the sea.

And we who know Jesus are the means by which this testimony travels. The
message goes with us wherever we go (see Mark 16:15,16). We are the
instruments of God.

In Acts 8, I can see Philip being used of God and led by God. The Lord
directed Philip as to where to go and when to go. So also the Lord works with
us. He will guide us. He will put us where we need to be. We need never feel
overwhelmed, outnumbered, or outwitted by the many unbelievers around us. The
Lord is the power, the wisdom, the strength we need. All we have to do is be
present and be willing.

As Philip went where God directed, the Lord did mighty things. So also is the
Lord ready to do mighty things all around us, and in us, and through us. The
light of the world is Jesus. He is the light that shines in the darkness, and
the darkness cannot bring it under control. When this world has ceased to be,
that light will continue to shine forever.

John the apostle wrote this:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first
earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the
new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned
for her husband... ...And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb." (Revelation
21:1,2, & 23)

And he also wrote this in a letter: "...because the darkness is passing away
and the true light is already shining." (1 John 2:8) The darkness of this
dead world is passing away, and the light of Jesus Christ is already shining.

How is the true light already shining? The light is Jesus Christ Himself (see,
for instance, John 1:9, 8:12, & 12:46). And the Lord Jesus now lives in us, as
Paul also testified in Galatians 2:20. And all who truly believe in Jesus are
the members of His Body, the Church. So that in us, as individual members, and
as the Church, Christ now lives and shines right out into the darkness.

He was shining in Philip's life. Philip was driven out of Jerusalem by a
horrible persecution. He left his home and went down to Samaria. And there
the Lord was pleased to use him. He will also shine in you and me, wherever we
go.

All we must do is be available to Him. Philip was not keeping his faith a
secret, he was "proclaiming" Christ. May we also do likewise.

Why does God put us in such trying circumstances? I believe it is to bring the
light of Jesus Christ to all who are in darkness.

Jim


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


Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 09:41:33 -0500
From: "Scott Dowlen" <scott * dowlen>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ntcp * homechurch [mailto:owner-ntcp * homechurch]On
> Behalf Of goodwordusa * att
> Sent: Wednesday, 23 October, 2002 8:15 AM
> Subject: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?
>
>
> I received this email question from a good brother in Christ.
> I thought others
> might also want to answer.
> ---------------------- Forwarded Message: ---------------------
> From: "Espen Knut Trydal" <espent * myrealbox>
> Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 00:35:38 +0200
>
> I have a question:
>
> What is meant by "water" in John 3:5? Is it baptism, or is it
> something else?
> This is a verse I have wondered on for a long time (maybe for
> years :-)
> Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is
> born of water and
> spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! (Joh 3:5)
>
> In CristouV IhsouV,
>
> Espen

I tend to think that the following verses answer the question. Verse 6
specifically says 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which
is born of the Spirit is spirit.' The context seems to indicate to me that
Jesus is comparing and contrasting the fleshly birth with the Spiritual
birth.

I think the verse is saying that someone born only 'of water' has only human
life, and that someone also born 'of the Spirit' now has Spirit life in
addition to their fleshly life.

Having grown up in a denomination that taught baptismal regeneration, I know
quite well that scriptures like this (and there are a couple more 'big'
ones) are used to teach the principle of baptismal regeneration. IMO,
context resolves all of them. I still think water baptism should be a part
of every believer's experience, as it is commanded by Jesus and the
apostles. It is also a beautiful testimony to others, and an 'Ebenezer' for
the new believer.

Water baptism is entrusted to teachers/evangelists/pastors. Look at the
Ethiopian eunuch. He asked his teacher, Philip, if there were any reason to
prevent his baptism. It is the teacher that puts the 'baptismal seal' on
the new believer for the benefit of the new believer and the 'congregation.'
The Holy Spirit himself is our Spiritual Seal and deposit guaranteeing our
salvation. The two are not the same -- water baptism is a mark in the flesh
(like circumcision), while Spirit-birth is an invisible spiritual experience
that is validated by Spiritual 'vital signs'.

I know many water-baptized persons who show no sign of spiritual life.
John 3:6 GNB A person is born physically of human parents, but is born
spiritually of the Spirit.

Glory to Messiah,

Scott Dowlen


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


Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 11:11:53 EDT
From: CWOWI * aol
Subject: Re: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?

I concur with Scott's view that the strongest application of this verse
refers to human birth.

Jesus used similar terminology in John 10, where he speaks 2 parables in the
one passage. The second parable begins in verse 7 where he calls himself the
Door of the sheep.

But in the first parable, verses 1-6, he refers to one who does not enter
into the sheepfold (the earth) by the door (human birth), but climbs in
another way (satan and his deception of Eve) is not the shepherd. In this
parable there is a watchman who lets the shepherd into the
sheepfold...perhaps the Holy Spirit who 'opened the door' for Jesus to come
into the earth by legal means...born of a woman.

Some thoughts,
John Fenn
CWOWI


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


Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 10:25:56 -0500
From: "Scott Dowlen" <scott * dowlen>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Crushing Circumstances

Amen.

I saw where a guy in Canada took out an ad in a national newspaper that
simply quoted scripture related to homosexuality, and he and the paper were
sued. He and the paper had to pay fines. I hear they were looking for the
Author of the Bible to sue Him, too ;-) It is now against the law to
broadcast or speak in public any kind of 'hate speech.'

Mexico is much the same. Given our ever-closer economic and political ties,
the US is bound to only accelerate its present intolerance for the Christian
world view. Certainly Europe, Russia, China, Africa, and the Middle East
are all rushing headlong to remove 'intolerant' Christians from the world.
Some parts of the EU are talking about closer ties between religions and
government, but if you read their documents, you see that they are pushing
earth-worship and paganism.

Don't be surprised if the 'Ark of Hope' winds up in the temple that some
Jews want to rebuild (not that the Israelis will want it to be there...)

http://www.earthcharter/events/arkofhope/release2.htm
or
http://tinyurl/25rc

<more comments below>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ntcp * homechurch [mailto:owner-ntcp * homechurch]On
> Behalf Of goodwordusa * att
> Sent: Wednesday, 23 October, 2002 8:23 AM
> To: ntcp * homechurch
> Subject: [NTCP] Crushing Circumstances
>
>
> Difficult times are ahead.
>
> I believe with all my heart that the western Church will soon
> be tested by
> fire. Our faith will be outlawed. Our creeds will be
> considered as evil. And
> believers will be forced to choose between their faith and
> their "freedom."
> (This is one reason I believe home churches are so important.
> Private homes
> and secret meetings may soon be the only places where true
> believers can gather
> for worship and fellowship.)
>
<<>>
>
> For the Lord Jesus Himself said, "It is not for you to know
> the times or
> periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But
> you will receive
> power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be
> My witnesses in
> Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the
> earth." (Acts
> 1:7,8)
>
<<>>

Too many of God's children are either 1) afraid of Holy Spirit power, or 2)
deny that power because their tradition and experience says they have no
such power.

Christians are weak, afraid, powerless, and witness-less because the Spirit
that makes us witnesses is quenched. Only within the last couple of years
has God broken through my denominational blinders to reveal more of the
fullness of His Spirit within me to empower me to do the work of the
Kingdom.

People, it is time to _desperately_ seek the filling (baptism) of the Holy
Spirit. We must be empowered, lead, and motivated by the Spirit instead of
our own flesh.

Many of you smell the rotting stench of the IC - due to the fact that so
much of it is 'of the flesh, by the flesh and for the flesh' (if I may
paraphrase Lincoln). Any individual not renewed and filled with the Spirit
has the same air of decay about them.

But like Lazarus, the voice of God is calling the dead out of the grave.
'Lazarus, come out!'

I'm sorry for being radical, but I can't keep it in...
In Christ,

Scott Dowlen


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


Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 09:19:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Henneberger <jchenn1213 * yahoo>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?

This issue is a thorny one to say the least. But
basically there are two major interpretations I've
heard:

a) One interpreation holds that water birth refers to
natural human birth -- perhaps with regards to
amniotic fluid. And don't we refer to someone's
"water breaking" when we talk about childbirth?

b) The second interpretation is that the water birth
refers to the act of baptism. In this interpretation
we see a completion of the salvation work. A convert
believes... and then is baptized...thus becoming a new
creation.

Obviously both interpretations have some merit, which
is why they both exist in the first place. But as to
which is "correct"? To me the water baptism makes
the most sense. If the water birth were referring to
natural birth, then the first half of the clause
becomes somewhat superfluous... The fact that we are
born of water (naturally) would be a given. And since
the passage seems to imply conditions (or
requirements), the natual birth interpretation seems
to have a dead appendage hanging off of it. Couldn't
you just say, "you must be born of the spirit"? Why
add that you must be physically born as well since no
other possibility exists?

I think there is a good case for interpreting this
verse to mean baptism -- a case I can't fully develop
at the moment. So for now, I'll just close by saying
that it is often the case with scripture that we
aren't given complete clarity on some topics. But
there is still something noble about the pursuit.
It's the glory of God to hide a matter...the glory of
kings to search it out!

Peace.

John


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


Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 09:22:03 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: [NTCP] Growing Churches in Resistant Areas

Dear NTCP members,

The following is a synopsis of an article with the same (above) title
that appeared in the Oct. 2002, Vol. 38, No. 4 of EVANGELICAL MISSIONS
QUARTERLY. In it the author David Greenlee analyzes 12 churches of
Muslim-background believers (MBBs) from 1977 to 1997. Only 8 of the
churches continue to function today and in his study Greenlee classified the
remaining 8 as follows: (a) five as vigorous, (b) two as plaeau, and (c) one
as struggling.
Here is an abridged version of his observations:

1) All the still vigorous churches reported a strong sense of community and
BURDEN BEARING. The plateau churches referred to burden bearing mostly in
the past. The others, both the struggling and the ceased churches, did not
identify BURDEN BEARING as a significant part of their fellowships.

2) All the vigorous churches reported that average members took an active
role in EVANGELIZING the lost. It was the reproducing vision emphasized by
the church planter, or by the founding leadership, that set the tone for the
subsequent history of the congregation.

3) All the vigorous churches encouraged the active participation of all
members with their SPIRITUAL GIFTS. The other churches, plateau,
struggling, and ceased each indicated that there were situations with them
wherein leaders hogged the "platform for the exercising of spiritual gifts"
or that other members just weren't willing to step out in their gifting.

4) All the vigorous churches made it through the transition from non-native
leadership (i.e. missionaries) to NATIVE LEADERSHIP. It never was smooth,
but they did it nonetheless. The others became dependent on the expatriate
leadership or the others grew wearing of policy dictation by a non-native.

5) All the churches studied underwent various types of PERSECUTION. Their
initial and enduring unity is what brought those through who made it.
Fractored churches do not handle persecution well but further fragment into
factions. And finally they disentigrate.

6) Those churches that continue to flourish have a secure REGULAR MEETING
PLACE which is identified more with the native nationals than with the
missionaries. The weaker churches wer/are too dependent on the missionary--
his culture, his funding. In general, house churches do better than those
with special buildings.

7) Churches that remain vigorous in difficult areas hold and prioritize
SPECIAL EVENTS such as Summer Bible camps, Easter and Christimas events,
conferences, etc. to maintain the spiritual health of the congregants.

Greenlee warns that there is some danger for us, the readership,
transitioning from the *description* stage to the *prescription* stage of
his analysis. Yet it is clear that those of us directly involved in church
planting or those of us active in our congregations in other ways can learn
from his observations. Particularly those of us in areas where religious
freedom is more stifled.

May God see fit to raise up in this generation millions of healthy,
flourishing, and multiplying churches. To the expansion of His kingdom.
And to the glory of His name.

Michael
Jerusalem


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


Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 09:23:02 +0200
From: "Deborah" <deborah.millier * juccampus>
Subject: [NTCP]: Question -- What's the Water?

Espen asked:

> What is meant by "water" in John 3:5?

Scott D. answered:

> I tend to think that the following verses
> answer the question. Verse 6
> specifically says 'That which is born of
> the flesh is flesh; and that which is born
> of the Spirit is spirit.' The context
> seems to indicate to me that Jesus is
> comparing and contrasting the fleshly
> birth with the Spiritual birth.

I consider Jn. 3:5 to be a linch-pin verse for salvation since it is
spoken by Christ in absolute terms. If interest remains high, we will
examine others. I used to argue vehemently for the standard Evangelical
position likewise given by Scott above. In fact, I thought it was an
iron-clad case. Any sop with half a brain could see the obvious comparison:
"born of water" = "born of flesh" (Jn. 3:6) and "born of Spirit" = "born
Spirit". Good synonymous parallelism. It lines up great ... in an English
translation.

But through extensive research on the matter, I discovered that it is
syntactically untenable according to the language of John's Gospel. This is
common knowledge among ALL the critical commentators. Since I'm no great
expert in biblical Greek, let me cite a few guys and gals who are. I have
noted the following scholars' denominational ties when known and also their
individual conclusions concerning Jn. 3:5's relation to baptism in order to
demonstrate that the grammatical evidence stands on its own in contrast to
the standard Evangelical explanation of the verse:

GRAMMATICAL EVIDENCE FOR JN. 3:5

1. George R. Beasley-Murray [Baptist]: "A popular interpretation has it
that water represents human birth, whether semen or waters in the womb, in
contrast to birth from the Spirit; this, however, overlooks that the whole
expression 'of water and Spirit' defines the manner in which one is born
from above. Suggestions like these do not do justice to the text and have
not commended themselves to scholarly opinion" (WORD BIBLICAL COMMENTARY--
JOHN. Word Books: Waco, 1987, p. 48).

2. George Eldon Ladd [Baptist]: (Note: he does not believe it refers to
baptism) "Water and Spirit are linked together with a single preposition and
both seem to refer to the life from above. Water is coordinate, not
contrasted with the Spirit" (A THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Wm. B.
Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1974, p. 177).

3. Henry Alford [Evangelical, I think Presbyterian]: All the better and
deeper expositors have recognized the co-existence of the two, "water" and
the "Spirit". So for the most part the ancients" (ALFORD"S GREEK TESTAMENT.
Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, p. 714).

4. R.V.G. Tasker [Anglican]: "But in light of the reference to the
practice by Jesus of water baptism in verse 22, it is difficult to avoid
construing the words 'of water and of the Spirit' conjunctively, and
regarding them as a description of Christian baptism, in which cleansing and
endowment are both essential elements" (THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN.
Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, 1960, p. 71).

5. R.C.H. Lenski [Lutheran]: "The exegesis which separates "of water and
Spirit," as though Jesus said , "of water and of Spirit" is not based on
linguistic grounds; for the one preposition has as its one object the
concept "water and Spirit," which describes Baptism, its earthly element and
its divine agency. The absence of the Greek articles with the two nouns
makes their unity more apparent" (THE INTERPRETATION OF ST. JOHN'S GOSPEL.
Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1943, p. 237-- emphasis mine).

6. H.A.W. Meyer [Evangelical, don't know his denomination]: "both
together-- the former [water] as causa medians, the latter [Spirit] as causa
efficiens-- constitute the objective and causative element, out of which the
birth from above is produced, and therefore baptism is the "washing of
regeneration" (Tit. 3:5; comp. Tertullian c Marcion, 1.28) (CRITICAL AND
EXEGETICAL HANDBOOK TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN. Hendrickson Publishers:
Peabody, MA, repr. 1984, p. 123).

7. Raymond E. Brown [Roman Catholic]: "of water and Spirit. The two
nouns are anarthrous and are governed by one preposition" (THE ANCHOR
BIBLE-- THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN. Doubleday and Co.: Garden City, NY.,
1966, p. 131).

8. Leon Morris [Evangelical, don't know denomination]: (Note: he does
not believe it primarily refers to baptism though it may secondarily) "This
is rendered all the more likely in that neither noun has the article and one
preposition governs both" (THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN. Wm. B. Eerdmans:
Grand Rapids, 1995, p. 192).

9. Linda Belleville [Evangelical, don't know denomination]: (Note: she
does not believe it refers to baptism) "The major difficulty is that no
parallels exist in either ancient or contemporary writings to support the
contention that equates "water" birth with physical birth. Also, if Jesus
had wanted to express the idea of physical birth, it is reasonable to assume
that he would have used either "born of the flesh" (vs. 6) or "born of
bloods" (1:13). This interpretation also contradicts the syntax of "of
water and Spirit" as a conceptual unity and disrupts the parallelism of vv.
3, 5, 6b, and 7" ("Born of Water and Spirit," TRINITY JOURNAL 1 NS, 1980,
131-32).

To sum up, what they all are saying is that Jn. 3:5 does not mean:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of (water) + born of (the
Spirit), he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (NKJV).

But rather:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of (water + the Spirit),
he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (NKJV).

Water and Spirit are regarded together in John's Gospel as a conceptual
unity; both are facets of one single prerequisite for entrance into God's
kingdom. In other words, Jn. 3:5 is simply a restatement and elaboration of
Jn. 3:3 and the need to be born again. Therefore, "born of water" CANNOT be
referring to physical birth. Sorry brother Scott.
What I also discovered is that ALL of the published ancient Christian
witnesses, from the next generation after the Apostles till the NICENE
Council-- *ALL* of them without exception-- believed Joh. 3:5 to be
referring to baptism. More evidence on this (God willing) tomorrow.

Michael
Jerusalem


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


Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 10:33:31 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: Re: [NTCP] (fwd): Question -- What's the Water?

Fascinating thoughts on John 10, John.

That's an excellent insight (vv. 1-6) I've never come across before.

Jim
> I concur with Scott's view that the strongest application of this verse
> refers to human birth.
>
> Jesus used similar terminology in John 10, where he speaks 2 parables in the
> one passage. The second parable begins in verse 7 where he calls himself the
> Door of the sheep.
>
> But in the first parable, verses 1-6, he refers to one who does not enter
> into the sheepfold (the earth) by the door (human birth), but climbs in
> another way (satan and his deception of Eve) is not the shepherd. In this
> parable there is a watchman who lets the shepherd into the
> sheepfold...perhaps the Holy Spirit who 'opened the door' for Jesus to come
> into the earth by legal means...born of a woman.
>
> Some thoughts,
> John Fenn
> CWOWI


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


Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 10:56:36 +0000
From: goodwordusa * att
Subject: Re: [NTCP]: Question -- What's the Water?

A lot of work, there Michael.

I truly appreciate the added insight you've offered, as to what the various
Greek language scholars have had to say.

I'm wondering now, though, if we should understand Jesus to be saying (in this
passage) that without water baptism, one cannot be regenerated, or born again?
Is that what He is telling Nicodemus?

Jim


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #187 < Previous Digest Next Digest >



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