House Church is Dead

http://ceruleansanctum.com/2012/01/is-the-organic-house-church-a-myth.html

click here, this article is from 2012 and well, appears to be the eulogy for house church.

Interesting article, and worth consideration.  Many have looked for the church in the houses of believers only to find it does not exist.  Jesus knows his own, and he comes to them.  House church is not dead, but and only if you believe it is, then:  house church is dead.  I know many living examples.  They defy being put into a box.  And… they are as real as God himself.  You will find it when you find this guy:  Luke 10:5-6 and not until.

man-on-bench

Painting by McNaughton from internet website.

One night after dark I was out front cleaning my paintbrushes from the day’s work.  I was contemplating the ‘man of peace’ spoken of in Luke 10.  A thought, an inner voice, something said:  “to find the man of peace, you must first be the man of peace.”  Bam.  Powerful.  Godly wisdom arrived and took root.  I am no longer dismayed that I cannot find organic church.  We must first be organic church to find it.  I found it.  You can too.

 

 

 

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What Does A New Testament Church Look Like? by David Alan Black

davidalanblack

I am convinced that the house church rather than the sanctuary church was the New Testament norm.

I am convinced of the normalcy of tent-making leadership.

I am convinced that the church exists in part to equip all of its members for ministry.

I am convinced that the leadership of the church should be shared for the health of the congregation.

I am convinced that top-down structures of leadership are unquestionably more efficient.  Efficient in doing almost everything other than equipping, which is the primary task of leadership.

I am convinced that the process of appointing new elders is best done on the basis of recognizing who is already serving as an elder in the church.

I am convinced that any local church that takes seriously Jesus as the Senior Pastor will not permit one man to become the titular head of the church.

I am convinced that the essential qualifications for ministry in the church have little or nothing to do with formal education and everything to do with spiritual maturity.

I am convinced that the church is a multi-generational family, and hence one of the things that makes the church the church is the presence of children, parents, and other adults.

I am convinced that because every local church has all the spiritual gifts it needs to be complete in Christ, believers should be exposed to the full expression of the charisms (grace-gifts) when they gather, in contrast to specialized ministries that center around singularly gifted people.

I am convinced that the local church is the scriptural locus for growing to maturity in Christ, and that no other training agency is absolutely needed.

I am convinced that the local church ought to be the best Bible school going.

I am convinced that Paul’s letters were not intended to be studied by ordinands (a candidate for ordination) in a theological college but were intended to be read and studied in the midst of the noisy life of the church.

I am convinced that the church is a theocracy directly under its Head (Jesus Christ), and that the will of the Head is not mediated through various levels of church government but comes directly to all His subjects.

I am convinced that the goal of leadership is not to make people dependent upon its leaders but dependent upon the Head.

I am convinced that since all believers are “joints” in the body, ministry is every believer’s task.

I am convinced that pastor-teachers, as precious gifts of Christ to His church, are to tend the flock of God by both personal care and biblical instruction, equipping God’s people for works of service both in the church and in the world.

I am convinced that the role of pastor-teacher is a settled ministry in a local congregation.

I am convinced that leaders should communicate that every part of the body is interrelated to the other parts and indispensable; every member will be appreciated, every charism will be treasured.

I am convinced that the whole church, the community of all the saints together, is the clergy appointed by God for ministry.

In conclusion, the fundamental premise upon which I operate is that each believer in the church needs to be equipped for his or her own ministry both in the church and in the world. If the church is to become what God intended it to be, it must become a ministerium of all who have placed their faith in Christ. The whole people of God must be transformed into a ministering people. Nothing short of this will restore the church to its proper role in the kingdom of God.

June 1, 2011

David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.

http://www.daveblackonline.com/what_does_a_new_testament_church.htm

Above link to the original post via Dave’s blog.

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You Made Them a Kingdom and Priests to Our God

And by your blood, you purchased for God, persons from every tribe, language, people and nation. You made them a kingdom And priests to our God, And they will reign on earth. Excerpt from Revelation 5:9,10

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Living Water

Thoughts from the throne:

Everyone who drinks this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks the water I will give, will never thirst again.

Jesus (john 4)

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Jesus Made a Decision

Jesus made a decision on the eve of his passion.  He decided he would rather go to hell for you, than to heaven without you.  Lucado

Image

 

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Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

If the Church is to be indigenous it must spring up in the soil from the very first seeds planted. One or two little groups of Christians organized as Churches, with their Bishops and priests, could spread all over an empire. They would be obviously and without question Native Churches. But if we establish Missions rather than Churches, two evil consequences, which we now see in greater or less degree everywhere, sterility and antagonism, inevitably arise.

Roland Allen, Missionary to China, 1927, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

Allen was a missionary to the Chinese. He witnessed the issues first hand when sending agencies, attempting to maintain control of the work, actually crippled the work, rendering it incapable of reproducing disciples. His books Missionary Methods and Spontaneous Expansion of the Church speak to missionaries of any stripe, any denomination, any calling. He stumbled upon important principles which are both spiritual and speak to the human tendency desiring freedom rather than control. He also touches on financial issues which also cripple the church, and to quickly integrating new believers into their righful place as priests in the kingdom according to Peter. Though he is long departed, his words reverberate yet today.

His book Spontaneous Expansion of the Church is available free online.

http://gospeltruth.net/allen/spon_expanofch.htm

Steve Addison distilled the writing to a single blog page here.

Steve Addison Blog Post, one page synopsis, excellent

Blurb from Amazon.com Book Section:

Written in 1927 as a follow up to his Missionary Methods, the following was penned in the forward by Kenneth Grubb in 1960: “It is only gradually that Roland Allen’s Spontaneous Expansion of the Church has established its reputation among those who are concerned with the mission of the Church. This is odd since it is in many ways both a more mature work than Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours? and also more relevant to the particular tasks with which churches and missions have to wrestle today.

Nevertheless, the fact that a new edition is called for at the present juncture is, perhaps, a recognition that the book contains much that needs to be said and read just now.” What Allen was calling for 80 years ago and affirmed in the decades to follow has “a lasting validity, and can be studied and re-studied with profit.”

Blurb from Wikipedia:

He was born in Bristol, England, the son of an Anglican priest; but was orphaned early in life. He trained for ministry at Oxford and became a priest in 1893. Allen spent two periods in Northern China working for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The first from 1895 to 1900 ended due to the Boxer Rebellion, during which Allen was forced to flee to the British Legation in Beijing. He was chaplain to community throughout much of the siege. After a period back in England, he returned to North China in 1902, but was forced home due to illness.

These ‘early experiences led him to a radical reassessment of his own vocation and the theology and missionary methods of the Western churches’.
Allen became an early advocate of establishing Churches which from the beginning would be self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing, adapted to local conditions and not merely imitations of Western Christianity.

These views were confirmed by a trip to India in 1910 and by later research in Canada and East Africa. It is with this background that Allen wrote his book Missionary Methods which was first published in 1912. It has been suggested that his thought was influenced in part by the earlier primitivist writings of Anthony Norris Groves and by the Brethren movement .

Allen’s approach to Mission strategy for indigenous Churches is based on the study of Saint Paul’s missionary methods as he is convinced that in them can be found the solution to most of the difficulties of the day. He believed it was the recognition of the church as a local entity and trust in the Holy Spirit’s indwelling within the converts and churches which was the mark of Paul’s success. In contrast was Allen’s belief that the people of his day were unable to entrust their converts to the Holy Spirit and instead relied in His work through them.

His views became increasingly influential, though Allen himself became disillusioned with the established churches. He spent the last years of his life in Kenya. Near the end of his life Allen wrote The Family Rite. In this essay Allen advocates that the family again becomes the center of the Christian church and its ministry. Allen died in Nairobi.[1] His funeral was conducted by the Bishop of Mombasa and his gravestone can be found in Nairobi’s City Park. A simple stone cross with the inscription on the pedestal reads: “ROLAND ALLEN, CLERK IN HOLY ORDERS, 1868-1947, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE SAITH THE LORD”

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What a Church is: Jesus Followed

(Excerpt from an article by Neil Cole)

I have come to understand church as this:

The presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.

Granted, this is quite broad, but I like a broad definition of church. The Scriptures don’t give a precise definition, so I’m not going to do what God has not done. I want something that captures what the Scriptures say about the Kingdom of God. In one of only two places where Jesus mentions church in the Gospels, He says, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matt 18.20). His presence must be an important element of church.

To a church that has lost sight of its true love, Jesus says these harsh words: “The One who walks among the lampstands, says this…remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent” (Rev 2.1,5). To a disobedient and unhealthy church, Jesus threatens to remove the lampstand (representing the church) from the presence of Jesus. The presence of Jesus is crucial to what church is. His presence is life; His absence is death. He is the most essential portion of who and what we are. He should be the most important thing about us and the most recognizable aspect that the world sees.

Click to access DangerousQuestion-Cole.pdf

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A letter to the Body of Christ: Women in Ministry over Men

2 Aug 2011
1815 Skyline Dr.
Russellville, AR 72802

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has come to my attention that the Lord Jesus wants to address an issue in the Body of Christ. I waded off into this issue earlier this year unprepared and was quickly attacked, beaten, and repelled online by Brothers and Sisters of the opposing camp. I have enjoyed the safety of retreat, and muted myself. Needless to say God is not happy with me and even this past week has goaded me into confronting this issue once again. I’m not stupid, nothing has changed on the other side so why bring it up again and get beat upon? It’s simple, they are not the Boss, Jesus is. Nor are they the enemy, they are brothers and sisters who have accepted a false outlook as being from God, therefore I am compelled to revisit this issue. Oh, what is the issue? Must I, should I, well, okay here we go: the issue is women in ministry over men. Can you imagine that it bothers God that clear directives have gone unheeded and error has entered the church? First we will touch on some scripture from the Apostle Paul in Corinthians, Timothy, and Titus. No, first it’s off to Genesis.

Rembrandt's Adam and Eve 1638Adam and Eve

We all know this familiar story of creation and the beginnings of man. In Genesis 3:16 God meets out the results of Eve’s involvement in eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil: To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing: with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you. Already I can hear the groans from my readers. I didn’t write this stuff, I’m simply your reporter and reminder. Adam also got his come-up-ance as well, he was told that the ground was Cursed because of him and through painful toil “you will eat of it all the days of your life. So begins the course of human events at Creation, and the woman, created by God to be a helpmate to Adam, and so he would not be alone. Gen. 2:18 At this juncture it would be a good reminder that Adam is not complete without Eve his wife, and neither is Eve complete without Adam, they are one flesh.

Now we head over to Timothy, 1 Tim.2, Paul is sharing some details with Timothy about men and women. He talks briefly about men and various prayers, his own credentials and calling, and women and what is appropriate for them. Then he drops the bombshell in verse 11 and 12: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. He then proceeds to tell us why, two reasons, in verse 13 and 14: For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and… Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. He offers redemption as a consolation in verse 15: But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith , love and holiness with propriety. (NIV version)

Okay, here is where I pull my sword and hoist my shield not to do battle, but to protect myself. I had no idea those things were necessary in dealing with Christian brothers and sisters, the ones who would rip these verses apart and explain them away citing the Apostle Paul as a chauvinist or worse yet as a misogynist and anti-feminist. These were the words I heard as I ran for cover back in the Spring of this year during an online discussion, headed by none other than a woman, a sister in the faith whom I otherwise respect and love. She was pretty adept at refraining from the battle herself, rather allowing her “friends in the faith” to do battle in her stead, and battle they did. I was dazed and lonely finding solace from only one soul in a distant country. Thank God for him, he was my Good Samaritan but then, he was gone, and it felt quite lonesome. I wondered if I could be wrong about it? I had no desire to continue to engage, and here now months later, back on my feet, I seek the solace of scripture and the blessing of a God who requires I seek truth and speak it boldly. This is exactly what Paul was doing with Timothy, he was charging him with the truth and telling him not to back down one bit in the face of adversity.

Your bro in Christ, Bruce Dickey

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RE-THINK Priesthood, by Ed Waken, Phoenix, Arizona

Ed  WakenReThink: Priesthood
What concepts come to mind when you think of the word, priest? I was at an organic church recently and I asked that question. The answers ranged from a ‘a person to go between God and man’ to ‘a holy man’ to ‘one who offers sacrifices to God’. How would you answer the question?

In the Old Testament, we learn that priests main job are to bring two parties at odds together for peace. In other words, a priest is a go-between for man to God. A priest was to mediate between himself and God (Lev. 9:8, 14:28-29), between his family and God (Lev. 16:6, 16:11) and between the people and God (Lev. 9:15, 10:17, Numb. 8:19). Priests are also to do wha is in God’s heart and soul (1 Sam. 2:35). These responsibilities are a high calling. It was an honor to be a priest in the Old Testament and only a small percentage ever had the honor to a priest. To be a priest of Jehovah was the best job one could have.

The New Testament also talks about priests of God but the application for priests was changed. As the church age began to mature, the church seemed to revert to a more Old Testament concept of priest where one man would represent a whole group of people before God and also speak for God to the people. The Catholic Church has promoted this Old Testament concept of the priesthood for over 1700 years now. On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, in this he began to deny the priesthood as it was then known and began to elevate the concept of the priesthood of every believer. This truth is certainly found throughout the New Testament (1 Pet. 2:5-9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10).

Martin Luther changed the theology regarding the truth that every believer is a priest before God but since 1517, hardly anything has changed in practical terms in the church. Whether Catholic or Protestant, most churches simply do not allow the common people (the laity) to administer communion, baptize believers, perform weddings nor are they trusted to impart the Word of God with authority to people. In reality, there still is a division between the clergy (priests or pastors) and the laity (common people). This division must be done away with by doing away with the laity. We must adopt the Biblical concept that every believer, from the moment of salvation is a priest of God and is capable of pointing people to Jesus for salvation, strength, hope and faith. Every believer is a child of God, equally connected to the head of the Church, Jesus Himself. Every believer has the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God is able to minister to and flow through the youngest and newest believer with powerful results (Mark 5:1-20 is just one example).

So today, we must recapture the truth that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a priest of God to the nations to bring the Good News of our King to their ears and hearts. It is our distinct honor to do so.

Your input…
How should the truth that every believer is a priest for God change the church?
If you lived out this truth, that you are a priest of God , how would it change the way you do life?

I would like to hear your insights.

(Find Ed’s original post on his blog: Thoughts Out There by Ed. http://edwaken.blogspot.com/2011/04/rethink-prieshood.html)

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Create in Me a Pure Heart, Psalms 51

Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Psalms 51:10-12

Sometimes even Christians blow it. David sure did just before this psalm was written down. If there is one thing we need, it is a steadfast spirit within us.

If we have fallen into sin, we don’t need condemnation, we need forgiveness. That forgiveness is abundantly provided in Christ and through his blood. His blood washes whiter than snow.

We need the presence of the Lord with us. He said that he would never leave us nor forsake us.

There is great joy in the salvation that only Jesus can provide. Repent, shake off any sin, and the burden it brings. Cast your cares on the Lord because he cares for you.

This is my prayer today: Lord for anyone reading these words David penned in the Psalms and those I have written here: Let the annointing break the yoke of oppression, let forgiveness flow from your throne Lord. Raise up your servants to new life. Let your joy flow from that forgiven heart, and may it water those around them and bring forth new life. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Here is a song by Keith Green: Create in Me a Clean Heart. Hope the link works.

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