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Bomar
Member



Joined: 2005/2/8
Posts: 112


 "Acts 2" Type Community

First of all, as I parused around this site, I was somewhat surprised to not find any mention of this on the forums. I'm also aware that many people here are involved in the normal, more institutional type churches.

My question is - is anyone here involved in, or have insight, in Biblical community? I know brohter Art Katz lives in Minnesota with 8 or so families of believers. Anyone else? Any ideas?

 2005/2/8 21:04Profile
CJaKfOrEsT
Member



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

 Re: "Acts 2" Type Community

Brian,

I've just become interested in thi stopic myself. Although I have been aware of Katz's views for some time now, the Lord has just brought it to the forefront.

Have just attended the first day of Katz's school in Melbourne, where the issue was discussed. Afternoon meeting run my group of "out of church christians", who were trying to figure out, "Where to now", with the whole community thing (ie, how it works, where to start, where do you draw the line before you have a "Branch Davidian" style cult, etc).

I would appreciate anyone has any observations and experiences, to post them here.

Thank you.


_________________
Aaron Ireland

 2005/4/19 7:02Profile









 Re: FYI

Hi there,
I know of only one such community near me. The url for them is: http://sons-of-god.com/. This community is located near Crocket, Texas (east Texas). I've been in contact with them some 2 years or so. I've planned to visit them several times, and something always comes up.
I find that there are so many christians, probably like yourselves who are starved for fellowship. They may or may not be a part of "institutional" church. They crave righteousness, holiness, peity and devotion, yet they are at a loss as to finding like minded faith in believers. Surely this is the hour of the apostacy.
I too have often thought it would be wonderful to live in a community of like minded believers whose hearts were turned toward love of neighbor and God more than self. A community of this kind would have to have some very wise leadership in order to stay afloat. The culture of modern american society has so infiltrated the church until it's almost all tares and leaven. There is only a remnant left.
My wife and I have just started living in a community of sorts. We have become co-managers of a home for the retired. There are about 98 apartments here, with about that many residents. We live here also. www.whealdonestates.com. Even though our christian ministry is not welcomed as such, there are believers here and we are building relationships. I have not idea what God will make of it. I just trust Him that we are in His will. I had gotten laid off from work. The very next day I saw an ad in the paper for this job. We went for it and got it. We really like it alot. Is God using this to prepare us for community? Maybe. But He hasn't spoken that to me yet. However, thanks to your postings, I will seek Him more in prayer about it.
I went to India in 2001. I still have it in my heart to go back. Christ for India has a large community there. www.christforindia.org. My wife and I would like to serve there. Perhaps God is preparing us for that. I don't know. This I do know, this day we are where He would have us to be, and He is blessing and prospering us.
Please feel free to comment further. Also, anyone else that has such inclinations, please take the time and share your heart with us here. God bless you and keep you, lead you and guide you and prosper all you lay hand upon, in Jesus' Holy Name...amen.

 2005/4/19 9:59
CJaKfOrEsT
Member



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

 Re:

Quote:

Lahry wrote:
I find that there are so many christians, probably like yourselves who are starved for fellowship. They may or may not be a part of "institutional" church. They crave righteousness, holiness, peity and devotion, yet they are at a loss as to finding like minded faith in believers. Surely this is the hour of the apostacy.



For me, it's not so much that. I find it quite easy to find true fellowship, because I work hard to maximise my transparency before others (no, I'm not 100% there yet). Generally people are more than prepared to open up and be real, when you're open and real yourself.

My queries begin with a desire to see authentic fellowship that goes beyond the two services on a Sunday and Home fellowship group during the week. The kind of fellowship that makes it impossible to hide in the pews, etc. I know that there have been some out there over time who are active particpants in christian communtiy life (had priveledge of chatting extensively with one such brother over a few months).

I am a "church building attender" (for want of a better term), who seems to be meeting several disillusioned christians, who have left the church "system" but really are just drifting along aimless. I have also met some who are in strong fellowship togther, outside of organised church systems, and are very mature in Christ. The problem is that all of these are either interstate or in other nations.

Along with another brother, here in Melbourne, I'm beginning to have a heart to see these wilderness christians knit together. It kind of feels a bit like we're David with all the "soon-to-be-mighty-men-before-they-were" at the moment, but I'm comforted with the verse "Despise not the day of small beginings."

Hence my request for any experience out there. Please, don't be shy. We need all the help we can get.


_________________
Aaron Ireland

 2005/4/21 1:57Profile









 Re:

Quote:
My question is - is anyone here involved in, or have insight, in Biblical community? I know brohter Art Katz lives in Minnesota with 8 or so families of believers. Anyone else? Any ideas?



Personally I have found that house churches best fit what you are describing. I am involved in a network of house churches as an elder with several other men.

I dont have time this morning to go into much detail, but I will post a link that I think you should check out. It pretty much describes what it is we do.

Here is the link: www.ntrf.org

Krispy

 2005/4/21 7:36









 Re: Throw out the standards

The Branch Davidian and other such sects and cults will be revived when we set "standards of holiness" that only bring the body into bondage.

When your trying to live a holy life thru standards and ordinances that is outside your heart and the cross then all manner of sin is revealed, every kind that you can think of.

That is why the Pharisees were wicked and of their father the devil because they were publicly putting on a show of their standards, but inwardly, in secret they were another person.

"All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men" Matthew23:3

Simple standards for a household are: lift the toilet seat, be home by 10, let the dog out before 10, take out the garbage, it's your turn to do the dishes, etc.. These kinds of standards are welcomed, but anything connected to scripture only brings problems, problems and more problems.

I didn't live in a commune but I was in a very strict legalistic pentecostal church. And the church new how to put on a show. Then the pastor's wife runs of with the deacon. People are sleeping around, all manner of sin was surfacing because of one man's idea of a perfect society.

Karl


 2005/4/21 9:49
CJaKfOrEsT
Member



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

 Re: "Acts 2" Type Community

Hi guys,

I just thought I'd bring this topic up to the surface. To paraphrase Art Katz "We so like to focus on far away things, full of excitement." (see [url="https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=5047"]Future Trends for the Body of Christ[/url])

I have recently read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together", and was utterly blown away. Mostly by its offensive simplicity. My fond memories of the SI forums was that many of us are near obsessed with themes and issues that are pretty much irrelevant (voice of experience talking:-)).

For a while now I have been increasingly focusing on the need for true Christian community. Life has propelled me into an experience of moving my family (myself, wife and two little children) into my parents house, while our house is being built. Not only this, but my parents have a border living with them. So there are three separate households cohabitating under one roof, including three separate opinions on how things should be done.

One of the interesting things that I've had to get my head around is seeing Christ in others, and gauging my love for Christ by my expression of love toward them (harder than it sounds). To summarise Bonhoeffer, "To confuse Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship is to poison it at its root. Ie, to prefer a extrorordinary social experience over true Christian brotherhood".

The question is, can we put aside our ideals of what we think Christians should be like and be the Christians God wants us to be, in spite of being in the midst of imperfection (and might I add contributing our own imperfection to the equation)? This place is great for being able to share opinions and experiences with, however it is amazing how high a wall a keyboard is in between two people talking. Think about it, how many times do you hit the backspace button to self censor while typing? The "foot in mouth moments" necessary for strengthening relationships are greatly minimised.

Perhaps this is the incesant rambling of an idealist, but as Leonard Ravenhill put it, "A man with a vision without a task is a visionary. If you have a task without a vision, its drudgery. If you have both the task and the vision that makes you a missionary." Show me a revival where the people weren't people dwelling together in unity. What would have happened to John Wesley if Zidendorf's Order of the Mustard Seed didn't produced the Moravians?

May we grab hold of Bonhoeffer's (and Christ's for that matter) vison and take up the task of establishing communal life as when the church began.


_________________
Aaron Ireland

 2005/10/5 13:31Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

I don't know if I have done this before, and if I have my apologies. I would caution folk on Bonhoeffer. He died as a brave man who was willing to die for what he believed, but was he Christian? He was a student of Barth and embraced many of his views including a very defective view of the scripture.

There is a web-site which will collate some of [url=http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/bonhoeffer/general.htm]Bonhoeffer's errant views[/url] which would encourage folk to read.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2005/10/5 16:05Profile
ZekeO
Member



Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 Important enough to 'discern'

Hi Ron,

good golly thats some website, the expose' section is incredible. I enjoy some of that material. :-(


_________________
Zeke Oosthuis

 2005/10/5 16:30Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Important enough to 'discern'

Ron,

Thanks for the link. I must admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Bonhoeffer. I have tried to read his stuff with an appreciation for his strengths as well as flaws, such as his participation in an assasination plot.

I found the information in the link to be very interesting and worth looking into for someone like me, who is interested in the issues he tackled.

One thing I will note however, is that evangelicals tend to draw implications from works they criticize that the author never intened to draw. Maybe the implications are valid, or maybe they are not...but my point is that they are imposed upon the writings.

As such he has been pressed into service to be seen allied with all sorts of causes, from bombing abortion clinics to Marxism...things I believe he would have abhorred.

For instance this comment..."Bonhoeffer proclaimed that God was dead." I have never read Bonhoeffer say such a thing, however I do feel he would have agreed with the german philosophic prognosis that belief in God is dead as far as modern man was concerned. I think, if he had lived to see our post-modern new age mysticism he would have been amazed.

My concern is for saying all this is simple enough I guess: I don't want evangelicals to simplify and dismiss Bonhoeffer too fast. While his views of scripure are defective...I believe he still has value in showing us ways in which our views have some holes as well. A good example of this is how Bonhoeffers views on communal faith, verses our highly individualized faith, prompted CJaKfOrEs to start this thread.

For instance this statement, which drew criticism from the link you provided,"the Christian is identified not by his beliefs, but by actions, by his participation in the suffering of God in the life of the world". In all fairness to Bonhoeffer, he was adressing a dead Lutheran church content to "feed on the carcass of grace" while Nazism was taking over society. While his statement doesn't work well in our modern churches where sound doctrine becomes the whole measuring stick, it certainly has substance in the outside world. (I really tried hard to avoid using the word “didactic” here. :-) ) It’s not a balanced statement, but it has merit. In fact I've heard similar sentiments expressed in these forums many times by expasterated Christians.

There are times when I have read Bohnoeffer and I say to myself “I don’t agree with his evolutionary concessions, or his situational ethics, or his existential pessimism, but here at last is a Prostestant Christian discussing the 20th century in a way that resonates with me. He doesn’t pretend that simple apologetics answers the prickly questions. Now I am not defending Bonhoeffer on all counts, but I don’t think he deserves to be put on the evangelical trash heap, without at least a good hearing.

Having said that, I certainly do not want to use this thread to champion all things Bonhoeffer. In all honesty, my defense is really a plea…if only I could find a truly orthodox Christian thinker who was willing to fully live in the 21st century without becoming a liberal theologian, or spending his time remembering how great life was during the 18th, and 19th centuries.

I'm not saying there isn't any...just not any found in your average bookstore.

Blessings,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/10/5 17:27Profile





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