Chicago IL USA
If there was a church in our homes how would we reach the lost, would they just come by the house?
Would we advertise? "Hey come on down to my place and I'll sermon you up a cup O coffee.
I like the Idea of a Tight Group of Peeps only looking out for the Things of God.
But I think the Day of House Churches is gone for the Next 5 years.
But ask me again in about 5 years and we may have to meet in the homes like they do in China.
PS. Can I pastor in someone elses house or is it that whoever holds the meeting sermons his guests?
| 2005/2/28 2:21||Profile|
| Re: 3 new church movements seemingly at odds|
Why does any particular structure need to be "the church." The people are the church. Look at the natural body. It is composed of many different systems, respitory, nervous, circulatory, and others. Each has a particular structure. But, it all works together for the good, (homeostsasis) of the body. The body does the work the head tells it to. People are the church, not a heirarchal structure. For the church that is responsible for feeding the poor and other outreach small groups works great. For the church that is involved in government many times size and strength is required. Same cross, same blood, same job, occupy until I (He) comes.
| 2005/2/28 2:26||Profile|
| Re: 3 church models|
Why does any particular structure need to be "the church." .
If there was a church in our homes how would we reach the lost, would they just come by the house?
Regarding outreach, I think house churches could have an advantage over congregational settings in many cases. You would have to invite people of course, but I have liberal aquaintences who would not normally attend church that have been willing to discuss the gospel while in my studio. Sometimes for 4 or 5 hours at a time... There is more security I guess.
Can I pastor in someone elses house or is it that whoever holds the meeting sermons his guests?
Sure you could pastor in someone elses' house! That is of course untill the year 2023 when the future church develops robotic pastorbots that can download Wi-Fi sermons... ;-)
In the course of looking at the 3 different church models that seem to be popping up, I became more aquainted with the Churchless Church concept. I have quickly come to see it's validity but in the end I don't think it would be right for my family.
Maybe if I was 15 years younger or single!
I recently came from a church that belonged to an Apostolic Network...in my case things didn't work out. Ironically I am now at a healthy Nazarene fellowship. Many denominational churches are still healthy.
I am still curious for other comments regarding the new church trends that are emerging. Is disenchantment with mainline churches the only commonality between all of them?
| 2005/2/28 5:14||Profile|
| Re: 3 new church movements seemingly at odds|
I think you are indentifying some key issues here. I am not usually associated with status quo thinking. Indeed, in my youth I had something of a reputation for being an evangelical Che Gevera! In heart I remain a radical, or as I sometimes say a 'congenital nonconformist'. When folk say you must,my question in always 'why?' But I temper my radicalism with the sciptural injunction; Test all things, hold fast the good. (1Th 5:21 LITV)
I think there are many causes for disenchanted. We might argue that it is always good for us to be 'dissed' of any 'enchantment'. ;-) Or if we switch to disillusianment, I am all in favour or being 'dissed' of all 'illusions'. I have no doubt that much unrest is caused as people discover that things are not at they thought they were. The gap between expectation and realisation is called disappointment.
One of our brothers on the site here has a sign-off to the intent that 'evangelism is a great cure for church bordeom'. I think I know his heart and this is not a critcism, but it breaks my heart everytime I read it. How can the gathering of the saints in the present power of the Holy Spirit ever be boring? Can you imagine being bored in the church at Corinth? I can think of a few other descriptions but 'boredom'? I don't think so.
The emblems of the Spirit most used in scriptures are flowing water, driving wind and consuming fire. What shape is flowing water, driving wind or consuming fire? What will you contain them in?
In the UK the charismatic movement emerged from unrest and disaffection. There was an adolescent element to the movement. A leading UK charismatic has said it arose out of 'rebellion'. Is this the 'grumpy old man' looking back on his teenage years? I don't think so, not completely. There was an impatience to get on with things. It was tempered by charismatics from the historic denomiations who were determined to keep the fire/wind/rivers in their older structures.
Is the modern 'out of church' movement another turn of the wheel in the same cycle? I have some historical contacts with the UK spokesmen for 'post evangelicalism' and the 'emerging model'. It reminds me of Moa's constant revolution. It is true that generally they have not rejected inerrancy, but some have rejected the scriptures traditional place in their practices in their endeavour not to be 'bible bound'. The great tragedy of the charismatic movement was that it began without a root system, and new groupings and leaders emerged who had no organic link with an older spirituality.
We see part of the phenomena here on SI. A W Tozer and his like had never been part of the heritage of the charismatics and their heirs. We now have a phenomena where the writing and preaching of men which has been ignored for 50 years is finding an audience. People are discovering Tozer and Ravenhill and Murray and Amy Carmichael and a whole emphasis on the inward work of God's Spirit that was ignored by the charismatics. If the charismatics had remained in their historic links would they have lost some treasures, and would the enjoying of these treasures have prevented the nonsense of much contemporary charismania?
There is a missing generation in between Tozer and most of his Tozerphiles. It is the generation that broke lose from the restraints. They did not receive Tozer from their spiritual parents but from the archives. I am just using Tozer as an example. Is the disturbance in the Church being caused by God or Church's ancient enemy who knows only too well the strategy of divide and conquer.
We have some here who are exploring a different strategy. Endeavouring, for love's sake to maintain the unity of the Spirit, while refusing to allow the ancient structures to squeeze the life out of them. Our contemporary situation probably has similarities to the church of the First Century. Some synagogues became completely Christian, some rejected the truth entirely. Some were in flux. It has always been the purpose of God to set the solitary in families, we should expect such and opt for the solitary route only in the most extreme circumstances.
There's is an interesting story told about Simon Stylites who withdrew from the structures of his day, both world and church, and took up his solitary vigil on the top of a pole. He became famous for his 'holiness' and crows came to see him in his 'lonely isolation'. A Christian of the same era having heard of Simon's exploits had a simple but profound question; "but whose feet does he wash?"
| 2005/2/28 6:02||Profile|
The only movement I'm interested in is the movement of the Holy Spirit on man, both in and out of any church movement organized by men...bringing them back to the cross of Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
| 2005/2/28 8:34||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Your people!|
Oh... how I brood over this church, this cyber-structure, this gathering of souls here. In speaking with Greg yesterday (Our beloved Webmaster) he mentioned "keep praying about SI". My response was something to the effect of "Brother this is like an appendage grown out of my head (heart), it is always a constant prayer". So much that goes on and comes through here... it has become almost wordless in expression other than "Your people!" Can often times only groan, a full rendering of Romans 8:26.
Why the preamble? Good question, perhaps it's in what followed out from Ron's comments here which seem to summarize so much. Much thanks to you MC for your input and to all responding.
Think in answer to your (MC) original question, at least in part,
Quote: Would borrow one from Ron;
I am interested if someone can suggest a meaningful theme to what seems to be divergent trends.
Redundant is the nature of this particular misfit so... I don't know 'what' it is exactly, but something is and has been going on around here as long as I have been blessed to have fallen off the cliff of Christendom into this vast goldmine and Ron has so eloquently expressed much of that;
I am all in favour or being 'dissed' of all 'illusions'. I have no doubt that much unrest is caused as people discover that things are not at they thought they were. The gap between expectation and realization is called disappointment.
So in a large way think there is much by way of that amongst us, a gathering of the 'congenital nonconformist' or "rebels with a conscience". The revolt is only against all that is false, superficial, shallow, manipulative, man-made, program designed pragmatism.... More redundancy; In a sense it's "We may not know [i]what[/i] it is, but it's not [i]that[/i]". It seems to be both a wonder and an indigestion. On the positive side, the question being asked and the striving after is 'What exactly is the Church?'. Certainly we all know what it ought to be and in the deepest sense spiritually, it is what causes such strong, at times gut wrenching grieving, other times overwhelming joy in that ideal of our Lords words;
Joh 17:23 I am in them, and you are in me. May they be completely one, so that the world may know that you sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me.
And for the most part have found that to be true here and so as it stands in this point in time, this place is church to me.
But it is also not a lot of things of course.
Looking at this broadly it seems that especially with the rise of the Internet and the ability to communicate globally (seen the thread on the countries checking in here?....Goosebump city!)
what is most interesting is that now the 'church goers' have a voice and what may have been suppressed is starting to come out and it's a mixed bag for sure.
There is what we prefer and then what is needed. If anything I praise God that there is a heart that longs after Himself no matter where or in what 'structure' that gets expressed through. Ultimately it would probably go without saying, but I will do it anyways: A lot of us just want to be where God is, where His manifest Presence is [i]felt[/i], be it in a tabernacle, a house, or a building.
I don't know if I am really saying anything here at all as far as what to do about the situation...Actually that's not entirely true. I can and do pray about it, something that raises again that misplaced idea that 'when all else fails....pray', when in reality all else fails if we neglect to pray.
Am definitely smack dab in the middle of this flux and the words of our brother Robert elsewhere reverberate in my head that [i]"My worry isn't so much about those 'out of church' ones that are gathering in homes, but those with 'no-church'"[/i] Something to that effect, have taken it to heart as well as the whole idea of being 'back' in a unpleasant setting preference wise, perhaps the Lord would have us stay in these places with the intent to 'reform' them...
Just looking at the letters to the churches in Revelations is telling. By means of reform, only meant by means of His working through us, in fact it is an utter impossibility otherwise, we would just be caught up in the vicious cycle of that infamous statement [i]"amazed at how much the church in America can accomplish without the Holy Spirit"[/i] and that applies beyond these shores.
All this is beginning to sound like what is needed is a Revival. And maybe, just maybe that missing 'something' is already in our midst, is this what we are seeing? The stirrings of a revival, certainly seems that the Lord is calling many out of the 'institutional' [i][b]mindset[/b][/i]... Maybe I am just waxing eloquently. I just don't know.
Back to Ron's wonderful comments:
One of our brothers on the site here has a sign-off to the intent that 'evangelism is a great cure for church boredom'. I think I know his heart and this is not a critcism, but it breaks my heart everytime I read it. How can the gathering of the saints in the present power of the Holy Spirit ever be boring? Can you imagine being bored in the church at Corinth? I can think of a few other descriptions but 'boredom'? I don't think so.
How much this relates...It just resonates in a similar way;
[i]Lying looking over the magnificent moonlit pathway across the sea, my mind settled in to gratitude to God that I am going out under no denominational call at all, but with free scope to follow Him undeterred. This may sound loose, but it does not mean looseness, but rather the most delightful and strenuous concentration on Him.
They are beginning to call the life on board dull. My word! dull! with books and sea and mind and prayer, dull! It is teeming with endless and joyous interest. The vast expanse of sea is just great.
October 24: I do thank God for this voyage. It has been most delightful, and this lifeboat has been a real Bethel to me. It has come to be known now as my lifeboat. It has been a wonderful rest and tonic in every way, and now I go to behold His wonderful undertakings in landing, and in Egypt, and in the camps. It is a great charm not to know, but just to see Him unfold His purposes.[/i]
Abandoned to God.
It is with all the restraint I can muster not to cut and paste this whole reply here from Ron into segments and more commentary. To the whole of it, [i]AMEN![/i]
So much for resistance:
We have some here who are exploring a different strategy. Endeavouring, for love's sake to maintain the unity of the Spirit, while refusing to allow the ancient structures to squeeze the life out of them.
Should have put this nearer to the top here.
Is the disturbance in the Church being caused by God or Church's ancient enemy who knows only too well the strategy of divide and conquer.
Always attempting to thwart the Lords purposes.
It would indeed seem a bit odd that this phenomenon of a building number of 'out of church' ones was all because of a 'mob rules' mindset, that was all stemming out of resentment. I was actually quite taken back after feeling led to remove myself out of the most recent church I was in. It was out of sheer grieving and reassessing everything in this walk. Yes, it was in part because of the many issues that we are all familiar with. But the surprise was to find that there was such a 'phenomenon' going on. It wasn't really until coming across Andrew Strom and the numbers of others with uncanny similarities that the thought of "You too?" even struck me.
Don't have a nice ribbon to tie this all up with, but this does seem to stand out large:
Jer 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Backward to go forward and yet still some [i]will not[/i]
Still to be put into the mix of all of this is the persecuted church and what is going on in other areas of the world. Out of wind...
For now. :-)
| 2005/2/28 9:47||Profile|
Jesus told the church to go to the world. He never told the world to go to the church. He depends upon you and me to go and do His work. We must cultivate a spirit of evangelism within our hearts and obey His words. People are precious in His sight and many of them are in trouble. They are hurting, lost, and need a friend to love them and show them direction. We may think that our gifts are insignificant compared to the world's need, and we may feel that we have no answers. But Jesus can touch them through our hands, be a voice to them through our lips, and listen to their problems through our ears. We are the hope of His glory in the Earth. All that we need to do is to go and preach His good news. He will work with us confirming His word with signs and wonders. +++
| 2005/2/28 9:49||Profile|
| Re: reformation?|
What comes to my mind is Reformation. Especially now after reading church history and reading the likes of Luther and Tyndale,etc....
It seems to me that the church is maybe in a process of more reformation or maybe even just being restored to it's original form as God intended.
I have this funny feeling that another big change is going to take place soon. That we all are all being prepared for something whether it is in our lifetime or our children's (and we are preparing them) But it feels so close. We have to make sure that it is Christ alone that we cling to. That He is our head and our allegiance is to Him. That we have grown in His likeness to reach out to those who come (or are sent) our way, wherever we are (home or building or whatever)
I don't think there is any danger of not washing someone's feet unless we are just locked up in a room in our house and never come out :) Hopefully we are out everyday , at the store, in our day-to-day activities, "expecting" God to send opportunities. Being available to be a light to anyone who needs the light.
God is God. He is capable of making sure His plans are fulfilled. We (I) am just to make myself a willing vessel and listen for His instructions and go along with His plans.
I just recently watched the Luther movie also and couldn't help but think how this has all been planned from the beginning and how it is all in a process. To watch the great changes that the Lord has brought about through His people (sometimes just one man). And each time, they always went against the grain. They had to stand agaisnt all odds, against all "religiosity"- even to death.
I am sure at the time, these reformers seemed crazy, or non-conformist. But if you look at it from the big picture, all they cared about was God's glory, His truth and that the people could know the truth.
The last reformation was not the last. There is still more to restore. Obviously, because the church and "christianity" as it is practiced today in buildings with all it's different traditions, is still a ways away from the original church of the new testament or maybe even the one Lord wants for His endtime church.
Just thoughts coming to me....
In Him, Chanin
| 2005/2/28 10:25||Profile|
| Re: reformation|
I think it's right to say that we are still in reformation. One of the outcomes from reformation is that the church comes into better focus. Mike has identified the real question.
'What exactly is the Church?
I am always surprised how slippery it is to find consensus on precisely what the church is. In pious terms we say she is the bride, or the new man, or the body of Jesus, the word becoming flesh and dwelling among men. We wrestle with trying to be both the salty preservation of holiness and the sweet aroma of Christ. We are torn between sincerely appealing to frail humanity or fearlessly preaching for the glory of God's honor. We are at once inclusive, and exclusive...invasive yet set apart.
In the midst of these tensions, we could easily accuse each other of failing in some aspect. Perhpas we judge the servant of another because we are serving our own expectations. To quote Philogogos, "
Quote:The only glue that binds these contradictions is a love that esteems my brothers devotion to Christ as much as it esteems my own. Maybe more.
What shape is flowing water, driving wind or consuming fire? What will you contain them in?
"but whose feet does he wash?"
One thing is clear from the response to my question...we all care and hope for the church. I think that is one of the surest signs of being spirit filled.
A couple of quick responses...
'dissed' of all 'illusions'
I love clarity of this phrase.. why should Jesus let us keep our illusions?
as it stands in this point in time, this place is church to me.
It occurs to me that, with technologies like "TeamSpeak" or "ISight", for the first time in history we could share worship services or prayer between believers or communities around the planet and get a new perspective of the presence of God that trandscends location binding all believers in one Spirit. Ironically, we move from the "collective hives" of our local assemblies, not for isolation but perhaps an even greater sense of catholic unity. I am just wondering out loud.
And finally...while I concern myself with utopian speculation Mike Balog keeps it real.
Still to be put into the mix of all of this is the persecuted church and what is going on in other areas of the world.
Staring at the menu of Starbuckian options for western Christianity I am asking, "what kind of church do I want?"...The answer from our persecuted brothers must be "Whatever kind of church you can get."
| 2005/2/28 16:01||Profile|
| Thank You Compton|
is that your writing bro? If so, nice writing, thanks for the post, I knew about the Emergent church, but the others not so....I'm going to read the rest of the thread.
God bless you.
| 2005/2/28 16:54|