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KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:


When I think of "buildings" they are more governed by other men, by organizations, like SBC or AOG. Not that those are error proof, but there is a high level of accountability.


This really isn't true. I've never heard of a bishop of any denomination removing a pastor from a church because he was an arrogant control freak. Nor have I heard of a bishop removing a pastor from a church because he was known to lie, or have unruly children.

The fact of the matter is, these governing bodies/denominations hold pastors to very little accountability. If you are a pastor, the only thing you will get in trouble with in most denominations is if you teach that Jesus was a woman, have an affair, steal money from the church, or withhold your tithes from the denominational headquarters. There is a very low system of accountability in most denominations.

True accountability is where your brother looks you eye to eye on a regular basis, and holds you to account.


But one day will come, that house fellowships will be the only way we can have "church".


Indeed. It is almost impossible to organize a denomination in China the same way you would in America. It's simply too risky to have such a larger superstructure when your life may be on the line for it. Then you quickly find out what is truly needed and what is not.


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/16 8:06Profile
reformer
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Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764


 Re:

Quote:
This really isn't true. I've never heard of a bishop of any denomination removing a pastor from a church because he was an arrogant control freak. Nor have I heard of a bishop removing a pastor from a church because he was known to lie, or have unruly children.



How many churches are in America? Just because you may not have heard of it doesn't mean it hasn't happened. However, there is truth to what you are saying in denominations, not wanting to ruffle feathers. Plus it also works not only for pastors, but the lay person. Probably you have heard of a person being disciplined out of the church for disobedience. I have!

 2008/7/16 8:28Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:


How many churches are in America? Just because you may not have heard of it doesn't mean it hasn't happened.


True at that. I'm sure somebody out there has. But "the system," in general, doesn't encourage such. For many bishops think much more "practically" e.g. in dollars and cents. So far, the denomination which my church belongs to, I've yet to see such. And they are pretty old-school Weslyean/Holiness types.

Indeed, if they have a church without a pastor in it, and there is the possibility the church may be foreclose on their land/building due to lack of a minister qualified to run it, they will stick whoever they can in there to keep such from happening. I have seen them stick an untested man from my church in there, without so much as a background check or reference from our pastor as to the moral integrity of the man. About six months later, the man was arrested by the police for soliciting for "a crime against nature" to an undercover cop at a rest stop along the interstate. Such, I can't say, didn't surprise me. And my denomation is no insigificant denomination, and our district which has over 300 churches, is no unimportant district. Yet, our overseer/bishop appointed the man anyway.


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/16 8:43Profile
reformer
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Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764


 Re:

Quote:
About six months later, the man was arrested by the police for soliciting for "a crime against nature" to an undercover cop at a rest stop along the interstate. Such, I can't say, didn't surprise me. And my denomation is no insigificant denomination, and our district which has over 300 churches, is no unimportant district. Yet, our overseer/bishop appointed the man anyway.



Man...that is really sad!!!I think this is one reason why house-fellowships are becoming more popular.

Blessing to you brother,

BTW
I listened to your open air preaching audio....PTL!!

 2008/7/16 8:51Profile
CJaKfOrEsT
Member



Joined: 2004/3/31
Posts: 901
Melbourne, Australia

 Re:

Quote:

reformer wrote:
How many churches are in America? Just because you may not have heard of it doesn't mean it hasn't happened. However, there is truth to what you are saying in denominations, not wanting to ruffle feathers. Plus it also works not only for pastors, but the lay person. Probably you have heard of a person being disciplined out of the church for disobedience. I have!



Brother, I hope this doesn't cause offense (and to be honest, I don't think it will, but have been wrong with much lesser asumptions :cry: ), but it seems that your posts are based on fear. I can see from the conerns you raised about this thread getting ugly quickly, that you are someone who cares for people, and that you wish to maintain unity on the boards, which is highly commendable. And perhaps I am using you as an example to illustrate a point about the [b]tendancy[/b] amongst those who subscribe to a "systematic approach"* to their Christianity.

As someone who is neck deep in "house based" Christianity, and have endured much misunderstanding from those in denominations, I have found that the main objection is the sence of rebellion in our camp. There are many house based Christians who have written off "the system" as the "great harlot Babylon" or whatever, and as a result, that is tranferred on all of us.

Having known Jimmy, over the years, I know that he has no ill feelings toward the "church", and is even a serving member of a denominational church. However, as any good Berean, he is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and has commented on tendencies, as experienced. Personally, I would make similar indictments, in spite of the fact that I attend a Baptist church, whose leadership contradicts the observations made.

It amused me when the church had there "organisational service" one of the preachers charged the congregation to "sumit to those who have the rule over you", but added that they needed to do it as the Bereans, prepared to question the leadership when necessary. The pastor knows that I host a home fellowship, with no direct affiliation with organised religion and that I am chrarismatic (they are cessationists), and yet the hand of fellowship has never been retracted, and there has never been a time that the conversation has drifted into, "Hey, I don't know how to break this to you, but you need to come into the organised church."

I notice that the misunderstanding was sorted out before I posted, but I guess I saw an opportunity to address a common misconception toward house churchers.
________

*sytematic approach - subscribing to the traditional model of church. Ie, meets in building on Sunday, ordained clergy, enforced tithing, etc.


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Aaron Ireland

 2008/7/16 10:05Profile
reformer
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Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764


 Re:

Quote:
Brother, I hope this doesn't cause offense (and to be honest, I don't think it will, but have been wrong with much lesser asumptions ), but it seems that your posts are based on fear. I can see from the conerns you raised about this thread getting ugly quickly, that you are someone who cares for people, and that you wish to maintain unity on the boards, which is highly commendable. And perhaps I am using you as an example to illustrate a point about the tendancy amongst those who subscribe to a "systematic approach"* to their Christianity.



The only reason I raise that statement was because of the heated discussions concerning this subject. Both sides have strong opinions on this, and it has turned out to having the thread locked.

I just want to avoid this, because I do now want to keep an open mind for both sides. This was not my view in the past. I was strongly opposed to home-fellowships for the purpose of leaving the organized church.

Brother you did not offend me at all. Thanks!1

 2008/7/16 11:41Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Interesting experience you have there CJakForest with having a "house church" while maintaining the denominational affiliation. I am getting ready to move out on my own, and have been praying about having such an "experiment" (for lack of a better term) when I move out on my own at the end of this week. I hope to be able to get a few people from my church and people within my apartment complex.

Though, with gas prices being the way they are, it is unlikely that many from my church would consider attending my fellowship being that I live about 20 miles away from everybody else! However, I hope a few will come.


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/16 12:08Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Watchman Nee once said that most Christians had never truly been to church. He said, most simply had attended what he liked to call "apostolic meetings." That is, a meeting where one man of extraordinary gifting and character preached in front of a large congregation. However, he defined the "church" as a local body of believers (within one city) who met together in a house together under the headship of Jesus Christ. In this context, each member exercised his or her spiritual gift according to the leading of the Spirit. No one man was in charge, save the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

While Watchman Nee was a little off his rocker in some of his teachings, I think he really hit the nail on the head here. Truth be told, a "church" is to be a place where no one-man show occurs. No pope, no bishop, no sr. pastor... just Jesus Christ.

It is sad, in our ecclesiological systems we have written Jesus Christ out of the picture. He's somewhere up in heaven, and has nothing practical to do with how things happen down here on earth. Men are said to occupy His office and ministry here on earth until He returns. But until He returns, we'll run the show just fine!

Yet in all the Scriptures I have ever examined on the subject (and I've looked closely), there is never once in all of Scripture where one man is looked at as the "head" of the church local or universal. There is not one man who is looked at the funnel as which all ministry gifts and offices must flow through. Rather, in Scripture we consistently see Jesus Christ alone is the head of the church, local and universal. He is "the apostle," "the chief shepherd," "the high priest." Never is His ministry handed off to another.

Thus, Biblically speaking, even though well intended godly men have occupied the position of "senior pastor," at many churches, they have essentially attempted to occupy a place and ministry that is for Christ alone to occupy. No man can take His place and be boss. Thus, when we all come together, instead of looking for Christ to minister simply through one man, we should look for Christ to minister through everybody, distributing the gifts as He chooses and in His timing, in a godly order.

That's not to say there aren't times when Christ will give a special burden that one man alone will bear. Indeed, there is a place for apostolic men, prophetic men, and teachers to do extended speaking. Such, in reality, is what our traditional Sunday morning services are. But, they are not to be the life blood of the church.

Believers should frequently assemble wherever they can, and submit to the ministry of one-another. For in doing such, they submit to Christ who is ministering freely through whomever He wishes at any given moment.

Just some food for thought!


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/16 12:24Profile
BlazedbyGod
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Joined: 2007/8/22
Posts: 462


 Re:

Quote:

KingJimmy wrote:
Watchman Nee once said that most Christians had never truly been to church. He said, most simply had attended what he liked to call "apostolic meetings." That is, a meeting where one man of extraordinary gifting and character preached in front of a large congregation. However, he defined the "church" as a local body of believers (within one city) who met together in a house together under the headship of Jesus Christ. In this context, each member exercised his or her spiritual gift according to the leading of the Spirit. No one man was in charge, save the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

While Watchman Nee was a little off his rocker in some of his teachings, I think he really hit the nail on the head here. [b]Truth be told, a "church" is to be a place where no one-man show occurs. No pope, no bishop, no sr. pastor[/b]... just Jesus Christ.


[b]Yet in all the Scriptures I have ever examined on the subject (and I've looked closely), there is never once in all of Scripture where one man is looked at as the "head" of the church local or universal. There is not one man who is looked at the funnel as which all ministry gifts and offices must flow through. Rather, in Scripture we consistently see Jesus Christ alone is the head of the church, local and universal[/b]. He is "the apostle," "the chief shepherd," "the high priest." Never is His ministry handed off to another.

That's not to say there aren't times when Christ will give a special burden that one man alone will bear. Indeed, there is a place for apostolic men, prophetic men, and teachers to do extended speaking. Such, in reality, is what our traditional Sunday morning services are. But, they are not to be the life blood of the church.

!



Hey, would you mind elaborating, or sharing some of the details to the portions above that I have highlighted.

Also, if you have read "Pagan Christianiy" by Frank Viola & George Barna, how do you view the book, and what are your thoughts?

Thanks again :-)

 2008/7/16 12:49Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:


Hey, would you mind elaborating, or sharing some of the details to the portions above that I have highlighted.


Sure.

I wrote:

Truth be told, a "church" is to be a place where no one-man show occurs. No pope, no bishop, no sr. pastor...


Various passages are cited to by those who advocate a hierarchy within the church. Such as Christ's calling Peter "the Rock," upon which the church would be built. Roman Catholics insist that this passage justifies papal authority. There is also the frequently alluded to "pastoral" epistles of Paul. It is said that Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, who presided as bishops over the churches in Ephesus and Crete. Both interpretations though, have their origins in later church history, and not within the Scriptures.

Rather, instead of the episcopal structure (and all it's variants) that many form their churches/denominations around, in Scripture we see no such thing. Anywhere there were bishops/elders (as not every church had this ministry), they always existed in the plurarl, forming a sort of "college" of bishops/elders, to whom were left the responsbility of overseeing/shepherding the souls of the local church.

I also wrote:

Yet in all the Scriptures I have ever examined on the subject (and I've looked closely), there is never once in all of Scripture where one man is looked at as the "head" of the church local or universal. There is not one man who is looked at the funnel as which all ministry gifts and offices must flow through. Rather, in Scripture we consistently see Jesus Christ alone is the head of the church, local and universal.


As there was always a plurality of elders/bishops whever there were any, none were given an elevated status above the rest. There was no "first amongst equals" or "senior" office amongst them. Rather, they were all equals. Naturally, there were one's who were more mature than the others, and more gifted than the others. But, their function in this regard didn't make them another class of minister altogether. It's simply means they had a greater degree of influence, and higher respect was attributed to them for their labors.

Never would they have understood themselves as the "chief apostle" or "senior pastor" of their flock. In 1 Peter 5, not even the apostle Peter himself is tempted to think of himself as this way. Rather than recognize himself as the head of the church, he recognized Christ alone as the head of the church. Christ's sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven doesn't make Him any less the head of the church here on earth simply because He's in heaven while we are on earth. No man can take His appointment, for this is His appointment alone. He is the head of the church local and universal. He is the One that is supposed to call the shots, both locally and universally.

Indeed, the notion of somebody having first place in the church in place of Christ seems to have it's origins in 3 John 1:9. A leader named Diotrephes is attempting to dominate the local assembly, so as to be "first," and is causing division as a result. John warns that if he gets to the church and things are not straightened out, he'll take care of the issue personally.

There simply is no place in the church for anybody but Jesus to be first place in all things. There can be no head but Him. He alone is the head of the church, which is His body, who we are all members of. 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 teaches that the multi-talented/gifted body of Christ has no head but Christ, who personally directs the ministries of us all. In any assembly therefore, there should be no agenda or any such thing. The only agenda should be for us to worship the Lord and edify the saints through the orderly exercising of our spiritual gifts.

Many churches, even Pentecostal/Charismatic ones, often attempt to control services in a way that is entirely contrary to the apostolic pattern delivered to us by Paul. They'll have an "order of service," or require that anybody who wishes to share a teaching, prophecy, or testimony first go through the proper "screening" agents so as to "protect" the people. These men act as funnels by which the gifts of God are allowed to operate. But, this has no basis to it whatsoever in Scripture. Jesus Christ alone is the funnel and distributor of the gifts, and He alone moves on men one by one to flow in those things.

When men take the place of Christ as head of the church, they usurp the authority that is His alone. God help us!


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/16 18:37Profile





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