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AbideinHim
Member



Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3466
Louisiana

 Re:

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).

I believe that the above scripture is the New Testament pattern for what the true Church should look like, and in general both the organized church and house churches have some of these characteristics, but it is a rare church that has it all.

The early church met in homes, but they also met in the temple. The early church was an organism that the Holy Spirit formed. It wasn't the work of man.

We can follow the correct New Testament pattern for the Church, but if we are not relying on the Holy Spirit to lead us in all that we do, the full purpose of God for His Church will be greatly hindered.

Many home churches set out with good intentions, but ended up as just a smaller version of the organized church.

Frank Viola has many good points in his writings. If there is one weakness that I see it is that he places a minimum emphasis on leadership in the house churches, and this is a reaction to many pastors in the organized church controlling all of the affairs of the church, while the members become pew sitters just showing up to hear another sermon.

I just don't see any one person, denomination, or movement as having the "perfect church". That is why we must stay connected as much as possilbe to all born again believers that we come in contact with regardless of whether they are in a house church or in the organized. church.

Mike


_________________
Mike

 2009/7/14 21:12Profile
LoveHim
Member



Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US

 Re: The book Pagan Christianity

Brother/Sister Rbanks,

I have read and re-read your original post a few times now. If you do not feel led to buy it and read it, then you should not. This book for me, along with a few others by Frank Viola, have opened my eyes to what the scriptures show concerning Christ and His Church. Does he emphasize the NT pattern of interdependent home fellowships? Yes. But Mr. Viola also states that to him the wine (a fellowship being led by the Spirit) is more important than the wineskin (Structure by which one meets).

I was very cautious when I first heard of Mr. Viola and the idea of New Testament pattern of home fellowships, but I checked out a few books of his and compared them to the NT. After a lengthy time of study, I decided to be a part of a home fellowship. I have not read in any book where Mr. Viola calls anyone wrong for going to a church building. I even heard him on Moody radio station being interviewed where he told the person that if one is content in a church building fellowship, then they should continue. He just emphasized that if one is unfulfilled going to a church building on Sundays and think that there may be something more than that, then he may want to be a part of a home fellowship.

I can only tell you friend that if you really want to know what Mr. Viola believes and not just what me or someone else may say about him, then check out a chapter or article of his and compare it to the Bible (but only if you can do this in faith and not stumble).

I have purposely left out statements you have made in your original post so that you may see that I am not trying to debate you, but rather talk to you as a brother in the Lord. I hope that I may have said something useful to you and if you have any questions about this book or his others (I actually prefer "Rethinking the Wineskin" more) I would be more than happy to help.

In Christ,
Phil

 2009/7/14 22:11Profile
rbanks
Member



Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


 Re:

Quote:

LoveHim wrote:
Brother Rbanks,

I have read and re-read your original post a few times now. If you do not feel led to buy it and read it, then you should not. This book for me, along with a few others by Frank Viola, have opened my eyes to what the scriptures show concerning Christ and His Church. Does he emphasize the NT pattern of interdependent home fellowships? Yes. But Mr. Viola also states that to him the wine (a fellowship being led by the Spirit) is more important than the wineskin (Structure by which one meets).

I was very cautious when I first heard of Mr. Viola and the idea of New Testament pattern of home fellowships, but I checked out a few books of his and compared them to the NT. After a lengthy time of study, I decided to be a part of a home fellowship. I have not read in any book where Mr. Viola calls anyone wrong for going to a church building. I even heard him on Moody radio station being interviewed where he told the person that if one is content in a church building fellowship, then they should continue. He just emphasized that if one is unfulfilled going to a church building on Sundays and think that there may be something more than that, then he may want to be a part of a home fellowship.

I can only tell you friend that if you really want to know what Mr. Viola believes and not just what me or someone else may say about him, then check out a chapter or article of his and compare it to the Bible (but only if you can do this in faith and not stumble).

I have purposely left out statements you have made in your original post so that you may see that I am not trying to debate you, but rather talk to you as a brother in the Lord. I hope that I may have said something useful to you and if you have any questions about this book or his others (I actually prefer "Rethinking the Wineskin" more) I would be more than happy to help.

In Christ,
Phil



From one brother to another brother thanks for your kind reply.

I will look more into what you have stated. I will admit that I was disappointed with the title and some of the known comments he made.

I will also admit that I do not like what I have seen in a lot of local church buildings but I am very much for and appreciate the pastors and churches that are contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints.

I have also now been pastoring for several years and have seen God do some amazing things. I have seen people pass from death unto life. I have preached and prayed with people seeing them become born of God and filled with the Holy Spirit.

I very much want to see the true message of pentecost be restored to the church. The apostle Peter preached the first Holy Spirit filled message on the day of pentecost and 3000 souls were saved. They went from house to house witnessing Jesus to everyone they came in contact with. I believe if we are going to return to what that new testament was in the beginning we need to be careful that we preach and teach the word of God.

Blessings to you!

 2009/7/14 22:49Profile
Sarah4Him
Member



Joined: 2009/1/8
Posts: 13


 Re:

Hi Rbanks,

Pastors and their wives have said it is a really good book, and they highly recommend it. :) This is my personal experience. Have those pastors gone away from their church buildings? Probably not! They did go away knowing where many of our "church" traditions came from though and I would imagine (and personally know those that have) curtailed some of those rites and activities. :)

We have many "imaginations and high places" up in our minds that need to be torn down and our lives and minds need to submit to Him alone and not the persuasions of men or the traditions or myths of men of the past. :) Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is also liberty, amen!!

I am a homeschooler and a homechurcher and my prayer is that men from everywhere, whether from the church buildings or from the house buildings, submit to the Almighty and love Him with all that they have, for Christ's sake, and for the sake of the world!

Rbanks, may God bless you and your whole house abundantly, far above all that you have imagined,
Sarah


Quote:
Brethren, Has anyone really read my original post and my replies on this thread? Truth does not offend those who love the truth. What majority of people are raving about this book? Is it the people who are truly blessed meeting in their public church building or is it the people who have left the church building because of the problems they have experienced.

 2009/7/15 2:52Profile









 Re:

"I have also now been pastoring for several years and have seen God do some amazing things. I have seen people pass from death unto life. I have preached and prayed with people seeing them become born of God and filled with the Holy Spirit." rbanks

This will happen when leadership is sincere in their intentions in following Christ, rightly dividing Scripture, and last but not least, leading a flock in the power of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that there are not enough of this leadership in the Church. Unfortunately, the likes of you are rare Rbanks and I pray that more such leaders/pastors are raised up by our Lord. I never read this book but I have read Barna, and if the percentages of truly born again Christians are, at the most 20%, (which is a liberal estimate in terms of others I've read) then this percentage applies to leadership too. And of this percentage, how many true born again leaders lead with a mindset that is outside of denominationalism in that the Bible is the standard and Christ is the first love?? How many churches get caught up in programs that would like to minister to your children but stop short at the pulpit of encouraging parents, the most influential of anyone in their child's life, to spend bible time with their children? How many churches encourage a biblical homebase that says: "We can't do it all for you. Your relationship with God is your own, personal to you and your home and we encourage this. If you're not spending time with God and growing your relationship because you believe that you will be filled by an act of churchgoing then you have missed the point of why Christ died for you. The price has been paid, the gap filled. All excuses for not coming into relationship have been removed." Ravenhill would have said this. He saw a long time ago how mainstream Christianity was crowding out sound doctrine and making church a one stop shop for all of our spiritual needs. He challenged people to turn off their TV's and spend family time with God before they blamed the schools or Congress for the lack of a spirit-filled life or Godly nation.

My wife and I have belonged to two Churches. One we left because they had 'special thank you dinners' at the pastor's home for those who tithed over a certain dollar amount (just the fact that they were keeping track of that and the pastor was informed was astonishingly upsetting to me at the time.) The other church we attended (my wife had attended for ten years) saw the lead pastor caught in soliciting prostitution in another state. After a short time off, not only did this pastor demand to retain his position, he had carefully set up a board of elders ahead of time who were of 'like mind' and got them to agree to a structure that put him solely in charge of everything. He was finally forced out by members who were lawyers by profession because of the felony charge. Turns out, he had been caught up in pornography and other stuff before he even became their pastor of ten years. Two years later the church still has not recovered and has yet to hire a full time pastor.

This happens more and more it seems and I wonder if this is one of the significant reasons for house churches. The bible talks of a falling away from the faith and sound doctrine, so finding a gathering place and a gathering brethren would seem to be a real challenge for a 20% remnant. I know it has been for my wife and I. And I also agree with Abideinhim that some house churches end up like a mico-version of organized church. This had been an experience for a friend of mine. I'm not against house churches but it's also a challenge to find one that is truly earnest and steadfast in the Lord. I think one reason I was led to Sermonindex was to hear the Gospel preached as it should by those who were truly and sincerely Godly men who had a heart for the flock and not their own ministry. They speak to my spirit in ways I cannot find elsewhere to this day. And I thank God for this site and you all here as well.

For some these are hard times in terms of true fellowship in the Lord.

 2009/7/15 7:56
AbideinHim
Member



Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3466
Louisiana

 Re:

I praise God for the godly men and women that are participating in this thread and that have a heart for God.

The Lord is going to get us to the place that we need to be as we seek Him with all of our hearts.

For many of us, we have a glimpse of what God is wanting to do in our lives and ministries, but we are not sure what we are to do to bring it to come to pass.

Praise God that we can pray to Him for wisdom and He will lead us in the way that we should go. The Lord is building His Church, and He is positioning His Body to the place that we all need to be.

The Lord can only give His grace to the humble. He can only teach those that are teachable, and that are willing to change and become the new wineskins that will hold the new wine.

Mike


_________________
Mike

 2009/7/15 8:36Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7464
Mississippi

 Re:

Quote:
For some these are hard times in terms of true fellowship in the Lord.



I would guess it will be this way for a long time. The devil is working [i]everywhere[/i] to destroy God's people. He works on every front. He loves it when we think this method or that method will serve well as a hedge against abuse of power in leadership. The sin "the pride of life" is one the devil used to tempt Jesus so we should not be surprised when we see it operational today.

I know of church conferences that quit ordaining bishops because of their propensity to abuse this position by the use of excessive power. Now they no longer have bishops but will have plural leadership in which reside several ministers but they will take turns of being this church's overseer. But the problem remains: the abuse of power is still something they wrestle with. Changing structure will not eliminate the human element because that is always where the devil makes his attacks.

(I have thought it ironic the Scriptures teach this hierarchical structure for the church, knowing this always presents the possibility for abusing power. God knew this when he inspired Paul to write about it. The other extreme of being leaderless, or a church not having strong leadership, apparently would pose a greater danger to the function of a church or brotherhood. Something to think about - at least I have been since I have been reading this thread and others about home fellowships.)

The only hedge that works is to "Abide in Him". This is done by putting on the armour as described in Ephesians.

My rabbit trail and understanding....

ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2009/7/15 8:58Profile









 Re:

"For many of us, we have a glimpse of what God is wanting to do in our lives and ministries, but we are not sure what we are to do to bring it to come to pass.... Praise God that we can pray to Him for wisdom and He will lead us in the way that we should go. The Lord is building His Church, and He is positioning His Body to the place that we all need to be." - Abideinhim

This phrase certainly applies to me Abide and it is encouraging to know that another brethren has that glimpse, applies this insight to many brethren, and is still waiting as I. I was listening to Carter Conlon the other day and he was talking about 'waiting on the Lord' and not jumping the gun in our own strength to try and do the work only He can do in us.

Ginnyrose I think you said a mouthful with your observation of Bishops and other leaders. I believe that if we truly believe that we are to lead by God's calling and we are truly interested in His work for His glory, then we will not step out until God has dealt with the 'self' in us that seemingly drives many ministries today. I don't mean to take a cynical tone here but I can tell the difference between a Ravenhill and a local denominational preacher caught up in multiple church programs and two service Sunday's as a matter of routine rather than shepherding a flock.. and seems more like a 'job' to be done rather than a 'calling' to be fulfilled in Christ.

 2009/7/15 10:01
rbanks
Member



Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


 Re:

Quote:

ccrider wrote:

My wife and I have belonged to two Churches. One we left because they had 'special thank you dinners' at the pastor's home for those who tithed over a certain dollar amount (just the fact that they were keeping track of that and the pastor was informed was astonishingly upsetting to me at the time.) The other church we attended (my wife had attended for ten years) saw the lead pastor caught in soliciting prostitution in another state. After a short time off, not only did this pastor demand to retain his position, he had carefully set up a board of elders ahead of time who were of 'like mind' and got them to agree to a structure that put him solely in charge of everything. He was finally forced out by members who were lawyers by profession because of the felony charge. Turns out, he had been caught up in pornography and other stuff before he even became their pastor of ten years. Two years later the church still has not recovered and has yet to hire a full time pastor.

This happens more and more it seems and I wonder if this is one of the significant reasons for house churches. The bible talks of a falling away from the faith and sound doctrine, so finding a gathering place and a gathering brethren would seem to be a real challenge for a 20% remnant. I know it has been for my wife and I. And I also agree with Abideinhim that some house churches end up like a mico-version of organized church. This had been an experience for a friend of mine. I'm not against house churches but it's also a challenge to find one that is truly earnest and steadfast in the Lord. I think one reason I was led to Sermonindex was to hear the Gospel preached as it should by those who were truly and sincerely Godly men who had a heart for the flock and not their own ministry. They speak to my spirit in ways I cannot find elsewhere to this day. And I thank God for this site and you all here as well.

For some these are hard times in terms of true fellowship in the Lord.



I praise God for how he is using this thread and the many contributions being made.

I praise God for you ccrider and what you mean to the body of Christ. The main reason I continue to come to SI is to grow with God's people and to learn better how to minister to others.

The need is so great today because of the vast problems we are confronted with and so many people are hurting for a real experience of God and a real place to fellowship with God's people.

I know that there are sincere believers out there who love God and really want to be a part of an authentic place of worship and they are so rare and hard to find because real godly leaders are few in this age of apostasy.

If I was to give any advice to anyone who is in a place where they can't find a church building that is a place where God's presence is really abiding and the leadership is really sincere and godly then I would suggest at least 3 things.

1. Listen to the spiritual ministers on SI and fellowship with the spiritual brothers and sisters on SI.

2. Pray and read your bible daily and fellowship with those in your household and if God lays it on your heart then open your doors to other believers and also the lost who will hear the message of the gospel with you.

3. Always be praying and listening for God to lead you. Following the will of God is most important! Always submit to God's authority over your life and acknowledge him in all of your ways so that He will direct your path. Don't be influenced by any other voice for you must learn to know the voice of God.

Just a few thoughts. I only desire to encourage others to follow God with all their heart.

Blessings to all!

 2009/7/15 10:37Profile









 Re:

Thank you rbanks. I appreciate the encouragement and the guidance. I hope and pray that we will find a place of gathering as we are currently moving to another town. But I know I still have many of God's anointed here, dead or alive, if we continue to struggle in this area of our search. Thanks again.

cc-

 2009/7/15 11:20





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