| brother Bill|
its 530 pm, the sun is cresting low-ish in the west, and when I read your words, my heart and my spirit in the Holy Spirit, just started praying for you....I didn't "know" exactly what I was praying, just prayers of love and soothing, comfort and good food for you, joy, much Joy! in Jesus, God willing, He'll take your hand, and just hold it.
Job didn't need his three "friends" blabbing, he just needed his hand held for a spell, maybe a nice long drink of cold water, a hand on the shoulder and just sit.
I think that was my prayer....right before I come on, I cooked two ribeyes (the local meat market had a 1 day meat sale, and I "Josephed" up) I just laughed because I thought, "neil you just ate Bill's ribeye steak."
i'm sorry. (I know you're laughing or at least smiling)
God love you Bill, I do, neil
| 2014/10/10 18:33|
Whittier CA USA
| Re: |
The ancient Brethren church had no name, they did however merely refer to each other as brothers or sisters ( brethren being the old english name for brothers plural) The other examples of gatherings were, like the Hussites or Waldenses and so on were so named by their enemies.
If you were to go to back in a time machine to Ephesus you would find in that city one church, one body. Now they would often meet at multiple houses and so on, but if someone like Paul came or another apostle, then they would gather in a field or a place out of view of the general public. But there was only one church in that city. In every scripture reference there was only ever Church, single. The plural was only used in regard to regions. Some may argue that this was because the populations were so small in these towns and that today, with our large populations that would not be possible even if there was a will to simply meet as a single unit.
In the case of Corinth, some estimates put it as large as 350,000 or larger. In the case of Ephesus it was considerably smaller, around 50,000. In Rome there would have been about 1 million. In Jerusalem there would have been about 600,000 swelling to over a million during passover. In any case, you can see that we are dealing with large numbers and yet, still only one church per town or city at least according to the Scriptures.
Frank, I pretty much agree with your assesment of how the early NT churches were distinguished by city and region.
That said, my concern is for believers to expect to find that same exact pattern today all of the time as a criterion for fellowhship or membership in a church. Again, I used to think that way along with many in the house church movement. I'm very familiar with all the arguments posed against traditional churches. And again, my question on this forum lately has been, "Is that issue really that essential for fellowship?", to which I again answer no, otherwise you encourage believers to be out of fellowship unecessarily. And vice versa I say it is not essential to be part of a traditional church even though I myself am part of one.
Imagine your own town with one set of elders and deacons and those given to hospitality and charity and administrations, then add those gifted by the Spirit of God in exhortation and teaching and wisdom and words of knowledge and so on operating in the many house groups, coming together for special occasions and so on. Imagine what a witness that would be to the world.
And I'll also refer back to this portion of your post for my next point/s:
Now they would often meet at multiple houses and so on, but if someone like Paul came or another apostle, then they would gather in a field or a place out of view of the general public.
I'd say we can still see that type of ministry taking place in traditional churches(even though it's not perfectly patterned after what we see in the NT), and many times it has a powerful impact on non-believers just like you described. I've seen it. Many traditional churches have both large meetings on Sundays and small home fellowships during the week, and from time to time have gatherings at places like beaches or parks, etc.
My main concern is with each church doing what it can to share the biblical gospel with the lost and reaching as many souls as possible while there is still time. I believe that should be our main concern in these last days, not the "structure" of churches because you may be waiting forever to be able to find that perfect type of "pattern" on a wide scale.
Anyway, I am only musing Scriptural and what the church will look like prior to the return of Jesus in fulfillment to His own prophecy in JOhn 17
This is another scripture we will have to disagree on as to it's interpretation. I believe our Lord's prayer there has been answered because we are indeed one spiritual Body of Christ world-wide, country-wide, city-wide, etc., despite our minor differences in non-essentials such as church structures. Could there be much more improvement in practical unity? Of course. But our Lord's prayer has not been completely unanswered, just like His prayer in that same chapter for us to be kept and sanctified by God's Word of truth. But like you said, we may just have to agree to disagree and move on.
| 2014/10/10 23:19||Profile|
| Re: |
"But like you said, we may just have to agree to disagree and move on."
Well hallelujah for that :) That was a long time coming brother. It may have come too late for me as Greg is about to shut me down on this forum, but that is okay. I leave Greg in the Lords hands, good hands to be in. I have met a lot of good brothers and sisters on this forum over the last several years and may the Lord be with you all......bro Frank
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
| 2014/10/11 0:06|