By the way, I've not read Viola's "Pagan Christianity." I read his book "Rethinking the Wineskins," and though he has some good points about some things, I believe needs some attitude adjustments.
| 2008/7/16 18:38||Profile|
Interesting experience you have there CJakForest with having a "house church" while maintaining the denominational affiliation.
At the risk of sounding pedantic, I wouldn't say that I am "affiliated", more that I make a point of not burning my bridges behind me. I tend to choose my words very carefully these days (probably stemming from having an affinity with Mr Katz:-P), and you might notice the deliberate use of the word, "attending" when describing what many would describe, "my church". I sat down with the pastor early on, told him of my views on church, etc, and made sure he understood my involvement there.
Regarding my "attendance", our community is still very small, and being involved with a congregation (there goes my padantry again) is to offer my children a view of the "bigger picture", and to invite instruction from an outside source.
Add to that the fact that my wife isn't 100% sold on the whole idea of leaving the system totally, and keeping a foot in each camp is also a practical choice. Again, I don't see denominational churches as intrinsically "evil", but more "substandard".
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.
I started by inviting all the "disconnected Christians" that I knew, and rather than those in fellowships. My situation was particularly volitile, in that the pastor of the church I left didn't take it well. Add to that my close association with many disenfranchised Christians, who left shortly after me, and I was mindful of causing unecessary offence (one "please explain" phone-call from clergy is quite enough, thank you).
Now my focus is firmly on faithful service, with results being merely incidental. We focus firmly on the New Covenant, and spontaneous Christianity (as opposed to the kind steeped in exhersion). We are equal, submissive to one another. We are loosely connected to other groups, both denominational and house based.
Above all, Scripture is our supreme authority, with all "doctrines" being brought under scrutiny. Although that might sound dangerous, we find that every major doctrine is being confirmed. Not only that, but the new convert in our group is learning his theology in a caliber that would rival many Bible colleges, because there is minimal theological tainting, but the Scriptures get to speak for themselves.
I wrestled a long time before starting our home fellowship. What was my motivation? Was I merely trying to build an "Aaronite church"? All these had to be resolved before we could begin, and they were. It was a convergence of events that finnally convinced me that it was time. I was enduring a period of intense misunderstanding at home, and then I read a transcript of a conference address, delivered by Norman Grubb, entitled [url="http://www.normangrubb.com/Articles/CM-The%20Ministry%20of%20Missions.htm"]The Ministry of Missions[/url], where he described the WEC's meathods of establishing churches. The former showed me how much I needed a community around me, and the latter helped me to see that I didn't need to be the guy in charge, just because I was the focal point for the people coming together.
Our home fellowship is very much "for me". Having said that, it is for everyone who is a part of it, and because of this, we can demonstrate a faith, defined by "loving your neighbour as yourself", as the expression of "loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and might".
If the Lord would have you start a home fellowship, then trust that "He will direct your paths" in that direction.
| 2008/7/17 7:57||Profile|
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. [b]It's simply too risky to have such a larger superstructure when your life may be on the line for it[/b]. Then you quickly find out what is truly needed and what is not.
Actually, even the first century Church-there lives were even at stake meeting from "house to house"- I found this scripture, that touched beautifully on this:
Acts 8:3 As for Saul, [b]he made havock of the church, entering into EVERY HOUSE, and haling men and women committed them to prison[/b].
| 2008/7/17 10:52||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: House to house|
Was I merely trying to build an "Aaronite church"?
Brother, it's good to hear your voice again.
| 2008/7/18 23:53||Profile|
Brother, it's good to hear your voice again.
Thank you. It's good to be back.
| 2008/7/19 0:54||Profile|