New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Sunday, November 3 2002 Volume 02 : Number 196
Re: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?
Re: [NTCP] His walk, our walk
Re: [NTCP] Practical NTCP Principles re house churches
Re: [NTCP] Practical NTCP Principles re house churches
RE: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?
RE: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?
Re: [NTCP] His walk, our walk and special buildings
[NTCP] FYI - free bible software


Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 06:33:02 +0000
From: "Bruce Woodford" <bwood4d * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?

Dear Michael,

Having read your posts the last few days, it seems to me that you believe
that, apart from "extenuating circumstances", baptism in water is essential
for salvation and is the actual means by which one is baptized (placed) "in
Christ". I am concerned that this position should be challenged for at
least 3 reasons:

(1)Too many scriptures teach salvation without any reference at all to
baptism! Here is just a small percentage of such texts from John, Acts and
Romans: John 1:12; 3:16,18,36; 4:29,39-42; 5:24; 6:29,35,40,47; 7:37,38;
8:24; 11:25,26; 12:46; 20:31; Acts 2:21; 9:17,18; 10:43-48; 13:38,39;
16:30,31; Romans 1:16; 3:22,26,28; 4:3,5,11,20-25; 5:1,2,19;
10:4,9,10,11,12,13

(2)You claim (I believe, without any scriptural warrant) that, at Paul's
baptism in water, Christ became Paul!

(3)You claim that baptism and the observance of the passover are
"reenactments" of events, rather than reminders/memorials of events!

You wrote:"The Torah-true way to die in order to live that Paul had
discovered, and that he wanted to make sure his Galatian readers/hearers
understood, was *Christ himself*. The Person. But how does one in some sense
*become* another person?-- save through an immersion into that other
person."

Michael, scripture never teaches that we "become Christ" or that Christ
"becomes" us! Rather we learn that believers are "in Christ". Being "in"
another person is evidenced by generation (physically) or by regeneration
(spiritually). Levi was "in the loins of his father Abraham" (Heb.7:10) so
that Levi actually paid tithes to Melchisedech in Genesis 14, even though he
was born about 200 years later!! I am "in Christ" and thus actually died
with him, was buried with him, rose with him and am seated in heavenly
places in Christ. Those things are NOT true BECAUSE I was baptized in
water, but because of regeneration. I was born again (John 3) and am
Abraham's seed and an heir according to the promise (Gal.3:29). This is by
means of spiritual regeneration! "Ye are all the children of God by faith
in Jesus Christ." (Gal.3:27) Not by faith and baptism!
BTW, there are only two kinds of birth in John 3 not three! (1)That which is
born of the flesh and (2)that which is born of the Spirit. That which is
born of water is NOT a third kind of birth (i.e. baptism), but is simply
another description of that which is born of the flesh!

This very practical truth (being in another person) can be illustrated by
the question, "Where would you be today if your grandfather or father had
died in the first or second World War?" Because you were in the loins of
your father, his death would actually have been your death! But because he
lived, you lived, even though you were not yet born! Now Christ died, so I
actually died with him. But because He rose from the dead, so I have
actually experienced resurrection! Because He ascended I actually ascended
too. And because He is seated in heaven, I am actually seated there too!
You see, everything that happens to a father before his child is conceived
actually happens to the child as well! So too, all of these great events
in the experience of my Saviour happened long before I came into existence!
But since I was born again, I realize that I have an actual history in
Christ that predates my spiritual birth!!!

Further, you wrote:"In reenacting the event, it was/is believed that they
were/are in some sense *participating* in the *original event*-- those
instances when the eternal God broke through into human history. It was/is
also one of the purposes of covenants and their rituals. The ceremonies and
rituals "collapsed time" so that the past could/can in some sense be
reenacted and thus experienced in the present. For instance, Moses said to
the generation born in the wilderness that was about to enter the promised
land: "The LORD our God made a covenant with US at Horeb. It was NOT with
our fathers [those that actually stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and said,
"We do"] that the LORD made this covenant, but with US, with all of US who
are alive here today. The LORD spoke to YOU face to face out of the fire on
the mountain" (Deu. 5:2-4, emphasis mine). Somehow the covenant-renewal
ceremony at the plateau of Moab transcended time so that what had happened
some forty years prior at Mt. Sinai-- to the previous generation- could be
entered into and appropriated right then and there in the next generation's
"now". "

Michael, you assume that the covenant made in the Book of Deuteronomy was "a
reenactment" of the covenant made at Sinai. Not so! That it was a totally
different covenant is made clear in Deut.29:1. (Compare the terms of each
covenant: Ex.19:4 to 24:8 with Deut.6 to 28 ,summarized in chapters 27 and
28) The covenant of Ex.19-24 deals primarily with Israel's relationship to
God and to each other. The covenant of Deuteronomy has to do primarily with
obedience to God in relation to *the land* and in contrast to the
surrounding *nations*. The *land* is referred to 8 times in Ex.19-24 but in
Deut.27 and 28 alone it is referred to twice as many times. The *nations*
are only mentioned once in all the Book of Exodus, but over 40 times in the
Book of Deuteronomy!

Furthermore, you assume that the covenant made in Deuteronomy was just with
those who were born in the wilderness! Not so! The only ones who died off
during the 40 years in the wilderness were those who were 20 years and above
when they came out of Egypt. So all of those who were under 20 at Sinai were
actually present there as well as in Moab when God made the covenant with
them there. The covenant at Moab is a distinct covenant with distinct terms
which marks it out as being distinct from the covenant made at Sinai in
Ex.19 to 24.

You continued to write regarding the Passover: "The commandments to observe
the feasts of Israel really demanded a *reenactment* of events such as the
Passover, where each year Israel had to slay a lamb (impossible to lawfully
fulfill today without the Jerusalem temple), eat unleavened bread, and
bitter herbs.....It was/is the same with the Passover ritual. Each
successive generation, according to the liturgy, was/is to say that they
themselves were slaves in Egypt, .... that they themselves *personally*
experienced the deliverence of God (Exo. 32:25-27, pay attention to the
pronouns). This personalization of what took place in someone else's
[actual] life transcended/s time and brought/brings the effects of the past
covenant blessings into their present. The ancient deliverence was/is
continuously updated into a current deliverence. A present salvation."

Michael, I assume you meant Ex.12:25-27 rather than 32:25-27. As each
successive generation participated in the Passover memorial, they did not
say that "the Lord passed over *our* houses..." *because they were
reenacting the event*, but rather because they themselves were *actually*
present in those houses *in their fathers' loins* just as Levi was in the
loins of Abraham!

Although Israel was commanded to observe the Passover throughout their
generations forever, they were never instructed to do it as a "reenactment"
but rather "for a memorial". Exodus 12:14 They were not required to reenact
the application of the blood to their doorposts and lintels, but simply to
eat the passover as a memorial.

Now concerning baptism, you wrote:"Now here is the baptismal application: it
is the same way with Paul's description of Christ's death. Time collapsed.
What had historically occured almost two decades before on the cross is
spoken of as if it had just happened. Furthermore, the person who actually
died at Calvary is blurred so that Paul speaks of it as being a
"co-crucifixion" (Gk. SUNESTAUROMAI, Gal. 2:20). When, some 17 years after
Jesus' death, Paul participated with faith in the ritual of baptism into
Christ, he himself reenacted Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. What
had occurred in the past became a part of Paul's present (Act. 22:16; Rom.
6:2-11). The person to whom it occurred became him. In the covenantal sense.
That's also how it is with us. When we, with faith in Christ (rituals by
themselves have no efficacy), are baptised, we too receive the benefits
procurred for us by Christ's death, burial and resurrection. We too die to
sin and the righteous sentence of the Torah against us. In fact, we become
seated with Christ Jesus in heaven, so close are we identified with him in
covenant (Eph. 2:6). Christ's death was truly a "once for all" event (Heb.
7:27). However, for the person who is baptised with faith in Christ Jesus,
the rite-- the reenactment of that death, burial, and resurrection--
"transports" he/she through time to that "once for all" event. That's how a
covenant ritual works according to the worldview of the Bible writers ...
and the ancient Church who learned from the Apostles. Paul was co-crucified
with Christ. So are modern NT believers. At the Apostle's baptism, ...
that's when it occurred to him. "

So a more scriptural understanding of both the passover and believers'
baptism is that both are *reminders* or *memorials* of actual historical
events in which the participants were actually present, although yet unborn!
They are not "reenactmants" which somehow *collapse time"!!

Michael, there are a number of scriptural difficulties with your view:
(1)Scripture never teaches the kind of fuzzy thinking that you present! Time
does not "collapse", nor is the Lord Jesus, the Christ of God, who died at
Calvary "blurred"!!! Co-crucifixion with Christ is an actual fact for every
believer simply because we are in Christ. For those who are in Christ,
everything that happened to Him also happened to them. So too, because He is
in us, everything that now happens to us, actually happens to Him! See Acts
9:4

(2)You wrote:" The person (Christ) to whom it (death, burial and
resurrection) occurred became him. (Paul)". Brother, scripture never
teaches such a doctrine!!! Rather, after Paul was saved, he learned that he
was "in Christ" and therfore all that had happened to Christ prior to Paul's
conversion (including His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and seating
in the heavens) had also happened to Paul!

(3)If what you say is true, Saul would not have been a "brother" to Ananias
prior to his baptism. But Ananias calls him, "Brother Saul" *before* he was
baptized.

(4)In Acts 10, those of Cornelius' household believed Peter's preaching and
received the Holy Spirit (v.44-47) which according to Romans 8:9-11 is proof
positive that one is saved and has eternal life! All this transpired *prior
to* their baptism!

(5)Not *all* believers are or have been baptized in water. But I Cor.12:13
tells us: "For by (in) one Spirit are *we all* baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been
*all* made to drink into one Spirit." The "we" clearly refers back to I
Cor.1:2 "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints, with all
that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ both theirs and ours."

(6)If baptism is (as you claim) to be a reenactment of the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ, what of Heb 6:4-6? "...seeing they crucify to
themselves the Son of God afresh,..."

(7)Every baptism in scripture (there are many before, during and after the
time of Christ) has a number of features. Each baptism has:
- -a baptizer (one who performs the act of placing an object or person in some
substance, fluid or another person),
- -a "baptizee" (an object or person who is baptized or "placed in")
- -a baptismal medium (a substance, fluid, or person)
- -a baptismal mode (dipping, pouring, plunging, immersing)
- -a baptismal effect (the baptizee is "in" the baptismal medium)
- -a baptismal purpose (the reason for the baptism).

With these features in mind, let us compare and contrast four different
baptisms:
(1) baptism by John in water,
(2) baptism by Jesus in the Spirit,
(3) baptism by Jesus in fire, and
(4) baptism by gospel preachers in water.

- -The baptizers: (1)John, (2)Jesus (3)Jesus (4)Philip, Paul, Silas or some
other believer.
- -The "baptizees" : (1)Those who were convicted by John's preaching of sin
and coming judgment in view of the coming Messiah. (2)All those who receive
Christ. (3)All those who remain in unbelief. (4) Those who profess faith in
Christ and obey His command regarding baptism.
- -The baptismal medium: (1)Water of the Jordan river. (2)The Holy Spirit.
(3)The Lake of Fire. (4)Water.
- -The baptismal mode: (1)Immersion, down into and up out of. (2)Pouring out
of the Spirit (Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28) so that the house in which the
believers were sitting was filled (Acts 2:2). (3) Plunging i.e."cast into
the lake of fire". (4)Immersion, "down into and up out of".
- -The baptismal effect: (1)the baptized ones were "in Jordan". (2)The
baptized ones are "in the Spirit", "in one body". (3)The baptized ones will
be "in the lake of fire". (4)The baptized ones are immersed "in water".
- -The baptismal purpose: (1) "unto repentance".Matt.3:11 (2) "unto one body".
I Cor.12:13 (3) "unto condemnation". John 5:24 and Romans 5:16 (4)"the
answer of a good conscience unto God". I Peter 3:21

Michael, how would you explain the difference between the act of the Lord
Jesus baptizing believers in the Spirit and the act of disciples baptizing
other disciples in water? Which baptism places a believer in Christ and
actually acknowledges that fact by the giving of the Spirit? Which baptism
acknowledges that, being in Christ (who died, was buried and rose again),
the believer now has a good conscience before God?

Yours for Jesus' sake,
Bruce


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Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 07:04:12 -0500
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] His walk, our walk

Just saying "see ya". I have been blessed a great deal on this list, but it
has run its course for now for me. It has become WAY TOO theological and
less practical to the day to day church planting issues I am facing. I
can't relate to the stuff of the last three months anymore. The brasst tacs
of being in love with Jesus and loving others and living His life together
is where I am at.

Blessings to all of you.

From the front lines,
Sam


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Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 14:21:57 +0000
From: "Bruce Woodford" <bwood4d * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Practical NTCP Principles re house churches

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
(Just as I came online to make this post, I saw the post "His walk, our
walk" of my brother Sam Buick whom I know personally! I hope this will be a
practical and not a theological thread that will encourage us all to be
followers of the Lord Jesus!)

I believe there is a two part principle in scripture that would preserve us
from doing many things which may appear at first to be a good idea, but
later prove to be detrimental to the cause of Christ. That principle is set
forth by Luke in his introduction to the Book of Acts. In Acts 1:1, he tells
what his purpose was in writing the Gospel that we know by his name: "The
former treatise have I made O
Theophilus of ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN TO DO AND TO TEACH..."

When the Lord gave His disciples their final commission in Matt.28, He gave
them the "curriculum" which they were to follow. "All power is given unto me
in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore and teach (make disciples of) all
nations, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED
YOU..."

Notice that He did not tell them to teach those disciples to do everything
that He had done! Just everything that He had commanded! You see, the Lord
Jesus always *practiced what He preached*! But, He did not preach
everything He practiced!

The apostle Paul taught the very same principle to his converts. See
Philippians 4:9 "Those things which ye have both learned and received and
heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." So
those believers were not to do everything that Paul had done (he made a few
blunders in his life!), but only all that he had done and explicitly taught
them to do! Because his teaching included "all the counsel of God" (Acts
20:27) he would have taught them what the Lord Jesus had done and taught. So
Paul also taught the saints, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of
Christ." I Cor.11:1

So I would suggest that there are two excellent tests to apply to any
practice or policy which we would seek to introduce in a church or a church
planting ministry.
(1) To ask the question:"Do we have, in the very words of scripture which
are addressed to new covenant believers, an instruction, a command, or an
exhortation to incorporate this practice or to follow this policy?"
(2) To ask this question: "Do we have, in the very words of scripture which
are addressed to new covenant believers, a model, an example, or an
illustration of this practice or policy."

If we purposed to incorporate into the churches of which we form a part
only those practices and policies for which we had both:
- -mandate and model,
- -precept and practice,
- -exhortation and example,
- -instruction and illustration in the very words of scripture...
AND if we purposed to stop any practice and cancel any policy of those
churches which lacked scriptural mandate OR model...
we would begin to experience true new covenant church life!

Now how would these tests affect the question, "Where should ekklesias of
new covenant believers meet....houses or other buildings built or bought by
the church?"

It is very evident, from reading the Gospels that Jesus, Himself, taught
daily in the temple and in the synagogue. But He never once instructed His
disciples to do so! ("Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I
ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always
resort; and in secret have I said nothing."
John 18:20 )

The Lord Jesus knew that the Old Covenant, in which God's dwelling was
always in PLACES, was about to decay, wax old and vanish away (Heb.8:13). He
knew also knew that, with His own blood , He was about to establish the New
Covenant, in which God's dwelling is always in PERSONS.

I believe that these are at least two of the reasons why the Lord Jesus
commanded His disciples to go into a city and seek out someone's HOUSE which
was worthy rather than to seek out a worthy temple or synagogue!

What scriptural *mandate, precept, exhortation or instruction*, to new
covenant believers, is there for *house-based* ministry?

The Lord Jesus certainly taught His disciples to have "house-based
ministries" rather than "temple-based ministries"! See Matt.10:12-14; Luke
10:5-7.

What scriptural *model, practice, example or illustration* by new covenant
believers is there for *house-based* ministry?

That the apostles followed the Lord's direction by their own practice, is
evident from: Acts 2:2,46; 5:42; 8:3; 9:11,17; 10:6,17,22,33; 11:12; 12:12;
16:15,32,33,34,40; 17:5; 18:7; 20:20; 21:8; 28:30.

That first century churches followed the teaching and practice of the Lord
Jesus is evident from Rom.16:15; I Cor.16:19; Col.4:15; and Philemon 1:2

So if we are to be truly scriptural in our church practice today, we too
will follow the scriptural MANDATES and MODELLING regarding house-based
church gatherings.

It is true that the Lord Jesus and the apostles often preached and taught to
the unsaved in temples, sunagogues etc and Peter was even commanded by an
angel (Acts 5:20) to declare the Gospel in the temple. But it is my firm
conviction that there is not a scrap of scriptural evidence of a mandate or
a model for any kind of church gathering in a building which is built,
bought or owned by the church!

I once saw a large highway bill board that proclaimed, "WE DON'T GO TO
CHURCH...WE ARE THE CHURCH!" The Christians who paid for that sign
clearly understood this new covenant concept!
Your brother in Christ,
Bruce


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Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 09:58:00 -0500
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Practical NTCP Principles re house churches

Bruce Woodford wrote:

> "The former treatise have I made O Theophilus of ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN
> TO DO AND TO TEACH..."

Dear Bruce,

In memory of Sam, I would also like to comment:

When I was young, we had something that was known as "manners", even
"table manners". One of the manners was "Don't talk with your mouth full."

In light of the content of recent weeks, it occurs to me that what's in
our mouth is what is not yet digested. Perhaps our discussion might be a
little more fruitful if we were not slobbering undigested religion on
each other, and spent more time digesting, and then sharing what is
already ours by doing. Hopefully, not by way of a bragging contest, but
in a way that helps to bring out the best that is in one another. Of
course, this would mean that we are, at least, as interested in the
content of the other guy's heart as we are in our own. Perhaps that's
one of the prerequisite manners of "speaking the truth in love". I think
it's called, "drawing one another out", in preference to "shutting one
another down".

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 13:47:00 -0500
From: theologuscrucis * cs
Subject: RE: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?

To all,

Have been following this as well as the "His Walk" thread with great interest. Thought I'd just inject an observation:

Michael, you challenge us to think Jewish -- which I think is a good thing. I just saw a new translation of the NT where the translator put all the names and places back into their Jewish words. But here's the facts -- most cannot think outside of what we have been culturally conditioned to think. Most of the debate on buidings vs home gatherings and the nature of the synagogue proves this point.

Almost all of think in modernese -- in systems, principle, and steps. The overarching criteria that draws these all together is pragmatic utilitarianism, i.e., does it practacally work? What is interesting is that we can think that we can return to any kind of "NT Church." Really, can we replicate the cultural surroundings, their cultural mindset, and return to a pre-modern Medittranian culture? What we value in the West, the classically liberal values of egaltarian and republican virtues are patently at odds with those cultures.

This urge, to return to the unreturnable, to the first things, has a name: Primitivism. But we only interpret the NT Church thru our cultural lenses and make up a church in our own image that emphasizes what might have been just one part of 1st century culture. So we end up with the IC reinterpreting 1st century Christianity into an organization where the modern values of system, principle, and steps, and the house church reinterprets the Church to be a modern phenomena of the systems, steps, and principles of therapy or the nuclear family.

Both sides, to justify what they are building, point back and say, "This is just a return to the 1st century and we can prove it by the modern method of systematic theology."

But here's the kicker -- our modern way of thinking has been overturned, and the cultural shift from modernity to post modernity has happened. And as usual, North American thinkers are about 20 years behind secular thinkers -- we seem always to be playing "catch-up." Sometimes I wonder if there are any Christians out there who are like the tribe of Issachar - who knew the times and what Isreal should do. The shift that is happening is the type of shift that happened when the printing press was introduced - it didn't change everything overnight, but it did change everything.

And here is our challenge -- how do we understand this shift culturally, then refuse to jump on the postmodern bandwagon? We jumped on the modern one to become "relevant" and look where THAT got us! In the AG they have responded to their growing irrelevancy and diminishing numbers by returning to modernism -systems, methods, and principles of John Maxwell and George Barna a la the CEO method or to the "Revival," where the founder, a la C. Finney once said that revival is not supernatural nor is it dependent on anything supernatural -- it is simply applying the right means to attain the ends wanted.

Something to think about, eh?

Continue to pray for my Mom -- she is now in hospice and is probably down to her last 48 hours. She is surrounded by a loving husband, all her kids and Grand kids, and her sister. So much prayer has gone up for her, and she is experiencing very little pain. God bless, all,

TC


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Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 15:01:04 -0500
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] What exactly is baptism?

Theologuscrucis shared:

>Michael, you challenge us to think Jewish -- which I think is a good
>thing. I just saw a new translation of the NT where the translator put all
>the names and places back into their Jewish words. But here's the facts --
>most cannot think outside of what we have been culturally conditioned to
>think. Most of the debate on buidings vs home gatherings and the nature of
>the synagogue proves this point.

Amen, brother TC, good to hear from you. We know that you are bringing
the kindness of God to your Mom and all the loved ones around her.
Praying about this matter is one thing we can all instantly agree upon.
Please keep us informed.

You are right about the difficulty of divesting our minds of all
preconceived opinions. I fight it constantly. I see that you have given
the matter much thought and that your theology and charity come together
in harmony, just as God would have it. Write more when you can.

We are having a friendly discussion of "meeting places" marked by
politeness. Much more needs to be said then we'll archive it for others.
This is real progress as these are the very questions - the very
practical questions - that other seekers will pose.

Truth is, if somebody teaches me the way, they ARE loving Jesus, who
commanded that we teach one another. All truth flows from HIM and
therefore ALL of life is theological and religious in nature. Nothing
exempted - no one exempted. No relationship. No institution. No atom. All
is his for his own glory and purpose. A non-religious, non-theological
universe exists only as a figment of human imagination. Far hence be it
driven.

also from the front lines,
also seeking to love Jesus Christ with my heart, soul, MIND, and strength,

David Anderson


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Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 16:16:38 EST
From: Steffasong * aol
Subject: Re: [NTCP] His walk, our walk and special buildings

Hello John,

I read your post with interest because you seemed so logical and concerned
with the respectful interchange of thoughts. I'm afraid, however, that you
are guilty of doing the same thing you accuse of others.

In your response to D.Anderson you wrote,

In a message dated 11/01/2002 6:53:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
jchenn1213 * yahoo writes:
> But then you follow up by talking about how church
> buildings tie up resources, how the temple no longer
> exists (though a temple does exist in heaven), and how
> the sacrificial system changed. It seems very much
> like you are just undoing what you started out with.
> But no matter.
>
> It seems a very popular thing to pour out a littany of
> problems with modern churches and lay them at the feet
> of buildings, as though having a home church would
> solve the problems.
>
>

Could it be that there are two sides of the issue, brother? Surely a special
building is not evil, but we are called to 'do all things for the building up
of the body.' I would ask you, does building a building for the church to
meet fit into that category?

Many I suppose have experienced similar issues with buildings as I have. It
seems as soon as a young church 'gets a building,' the focus moves to the
building maintenance instead of 'body' maintainance. Is this the Lord? Do
you think that the Lord really wants us to take our attention from the
building up of HIS body to the building of structures around his people? Is
that the Lord? When everything about his ministry spoke to the needs of the
heart, and to the healing, loving, gracing, serving, mercy, helping and
supporting of each other, --- do you think that HE is the sponsor of all
these building programs? I seriously doubt it. A building doesn't do that,
people do.

I am not here to laud meetings in a house. Oh, I love them. I think a house
a wonderful place to meet, and I was blest to do so for four years in a row
and then an additional 7 throughout the 1990's, but I am not convinced that
'church buildings' are the only thing wrong with the contemporary church.
Yes, it's one of the problems, but not the nemesis. I just see church
buildings as extremely poors substitutes for the church. They can house
more people, but why gather MORE people? Why is bigger better? Oh, souls?
Are the souls in big buildings growing closer to Jesus? Are the fruits
ripening in their lives and bringing forth seed in the lives of others? The
church functions and grows MUCH better when small groups of people are
meeting regularly.

Also, the very idea of church buildings create a misnomer. Everywhere I turn
I hear people talking about 'church,' and I think they are speaking of the
body of Christ, and my face lights up, and then I am disappointed for they
are actually speaking of a building. What's that all about? It's just not
biblical. Will will call it sin? I'm not going to call it sin. I just will
not pursue it. It's a waste of God's money and our time. We're not in the
contracting business, we're in the business of advancing the Kingdom of God.
Will many buildings that have little crosses on the steeples dotted across
the globe be our measure of success, or will lives that are transformed and
on fire for Jesus be our goal?

I wonder what God looks at.
I wonder what He smiles at when He looks on us.

>
>
> Also, Jay wrote:
> >>>
>
Building special places for the
expression of our new life is not only bad stewardship, it is evidence
of a gross misunderstanding of the transaction of the cross.

But Stephanie, I think you already know that.

>>

You are correct, sir!
;-)

Bless the Name of the Lord!
Stephanie
The Church is the real presence of Christ. Once we have realized this truth
we are well on the way to recovering an aspect of the Church's being which
has been sadly neglected in the past. We should think of the Church not as an
institution, but as a person. . . Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 


End of New Testament Church Proliferation Digest V2 #196

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