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Thread: Anyone here in a house church?

  1. #61
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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Just in case the Chinese house church movement is not Calvinist enough for you guys. I thought I would share an example of simple church that even us 5 pointers could love. The following quote about Calvin’s methods is from “For the glory of God” by Rodney Stark


    The best that can be said then is that “hundreds” of ordained missionary-agents were sent forth, in addition to the many lay missionaries and nobles. It is important to realize that the primary role of these agents from Geneva was to recruit local missionaries whose task was to inspire their flocks to convert others’ thus constructing a kind of pyramid club of conversion.
    Qwen Chadwick has offered a specific example of how rapidly these pyramids could grow. In 1559 several citizens from the small town of Castres in the Languedoc went to Geneva to buy Bibles and other religious books. While there they asked to be sent a pastor. In April 1560 Geoffrey Brun arrived in Castres and began holding secret services in a private home. The congregation grew so quickly that after six months Brun returned to Geneva to get an assistant. By February 1561 the assistant was holding separate services in another home. The magistrates ordered him to desist. But after several sessions with Brun, the magistrates joined the congregation. “The flock was now too big to meet in private houses, and so they took over public buildings and released Protestant prisoners by force. Hence forth the town was a Huguenot town”


    These Calvinists where two busy taking the gospel to a hungry world to bother with temples made with hands. Buildings and rituals and unbreakable traditions all came later when worldly concerns outweighed concern for souls.

    By the way Bgmall I never said I supported the guy.

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    Much Given, Much Required

    We cannot remotely compare ourselves to the situation with believers in China. Tenfold more certain--North Korea. Those believers have not had a small fraction of the opportunities and light that those of us in the West have had.

    I do not believe that the Chinese 'unity' confession is the equivalent of ECT in the United States. To propose this is comparing apples and oranges. Although I certainly have many problems with it--I realize that it is not coming from the 'advanced light' situation that we have in the West.

    Considering our blessings and unlimited access to the truth, if the Lord has made us willing to seek it, we have no excuse here. Never has there been a time when the truth was more easily accessible. In addition, never has there been a time when the bulk of professed Christians in the West were more uninterested.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    I too think the Chinese confession could be better but that is not the point. The point is how could between 40 and 80 million believers “accept immediately” such an orthodox confession? We all know such unity would never happen in the U.S.
    You see a similar thing on these boards. How could a stark traditionalist like Wild Boar fellowship with a rebel like billtwisse? Or how could a hardcore hyper like Brandon tolerate a jellyspined tolerant Calvinist like me? Or what about a big-brained scholar like Disciple and an overly emotional Milt?
    The answer is that there are no empires to protect here. None of us are trying to draw away disciples to ourselves. Any time you have a hierarchy you have an empire and our first impulse as sinful men is to protect and expand the empire at all costs. History is littered with the sad results.

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Phew! I'm glad I didn't make it into that list!

    Martin

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    How could a stark traditionalist like Wild Boar fellowship with a rebel like billtwisse?
    traditionalist?....hmmm....haven't been called that one before, i'll take it as a complement though

    The point is how could between 40 and 80 million believers “accept immediately” such an orthodox confession? We all know such unity would never happen in the U.S.
    Where do these numbers come from? and what in this confession to do you think most in the US churches would refuse to subscribe to?
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Where do these numbers come from?

    These are just estimates another benefit of simple church is that you can’t know the exact numbers involved.

    what in this confession to do you think most in the US churches would refuse to subscribe to?

    Once again it is not the Confession itself that is the problem in America it’s the unity that it represents. Just think of the planning required if this kind of thing was to be attempted here. To some leaders it would seem too Calvinistic. To others too freewill leaning. The charismatic pastors would want something about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Most Baptists would not want to be involved just on principal. We would get bogged down deciding whether or not to invite the main line churches. The whole project would be dropped for lack of interest.

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    If the simple church movement is such that 40 to 80 million people are in agreement with you, yet you don't know who any of those people are or have any fellowship with them, how can that be called unity? I don't see that as an advantage.

    Just think of the planning required if this kind of thing was to be attempted here. To some leaders it would seem too Calvinistic. To others too freewill leaning. The charismatic pastors would want something about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Most Baptists would not want to be involved just on principal. We would get bogged down deciding whether or not to invite the main line churches. The whole project would be dropped for lack of interest.
    Unity must be grounded in truth. Me going and signing a document with a bunch of people I don't know and have no intention of worshipping with based on some lowest common denominator in theology is not true unity. For true unity to result, what must happen is the churches must get together and discuss and debate their differences and compare them with Scripture. If we are all willing to submit to the teachings of Scripture, we will all be united in doctrine and we will have true unity.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    I too think the Chinese confession could be better but that is not the point. The point is how could between 40 and 80 million believers “accept immediately” such an orthodox confession? We all know such unity would never happen in the U.S.
    You see a similar thing on these boards. How could a stark traditionalist like Wild Boar fellowship with a rebel like billtwisse? Or how could a hardcore hyper like Brandon tolerate a jellyspined tolerant Calvinist like me? Or what about a big-brained scholar like Disciple and an overly emotional Milt?
    The answer is that there are no empires to protect here. None of us are trying to draw away disciples to ourselves. Any time you have a hierarchy you have an empire and our first impulse as sinful men is to protect and expand the empire at all costs. History is littered with the sad results.
    Tomas1,

    I may be excoriated by some of my fellow brothers and sisters here for this, but you can add me to the camp of 'tolerant Calvinists'

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Its ok - they're tolerant of Tolerant Calvinists here!

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Me going and signing a document with a bunch f people I don't know and have no intention of worshipping with based on some lowest common denominator in theology is not true unity. For true unity to result, what must happen is the churches must get together and discuss and debate their differences and compare them with Scripture. If we are all willing to submit to the teachings of Scripture, we will all be united in doctrine and we will have true unity.
    might i develop that thought further? i do not think that unity is a simple adherence to a creed or confession or just agreeing/having consensus about doctrine (though it includes this). it seems that unity has a very practical application that you alluded to. true unity seems to only have a reality--a real-life application--in the context of relationships (e.g., the local body). and practically, it seems to me, unity incorporates the idea of love and overlooking in the area of non-essentials (negotiables), personality quirks, sins of your brothers and sisters in Christ, etc. the idea of doctrine is there and i think it is primary (the relationship itself is based on this agreement or unity) but there is also a second element of unity that we often ignore.

    i would say that we are to have both doctrinal and relational unity and we do not have true unity unless we have both. they are both essential components of true unity. the relational unity is based upon the doctrinal unity. as a side-note, i would say that it is unnecessary to have complete agreement on every jot and tittle for true unity to occur.

    Eph 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, [relational] 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all [doctrinal]...13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith [doctrinal], and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    Col 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

    Romans 14-15 is a real-rubber-meets-the-road passage dealing with this very issue (i.e., unity). the conclusion of that discussion is:

    Ro 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

    the relational unity is to accept one another in the non-essentials (the negotiables). we're not going to agree on everything and that is not the way that God designed the body of Christ. God is not in the business of making cookie-cutter Christians--He enjoys variety. the way He conforms us to the image of Christ and takes off our rough edges is by putting us together with a bunch of people who aren't like us and who don't agree with us. if we just all agreed on every little thing and we were all exactly alike then the admonitions above would make little sense and have almost no application in our lives.

    anyway, sorry for the rabbit trail. something you said provoked thought and reflection and i was compelled to share it. thanks for listening (or at least for putting up with me for a second )
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: Anyone here in a house church?

    Disciple:
    God is not in the business of making cookie-cutter Christians--He enjoys variety. the way He conforms us to the image of Christ and takes off our rough edges is by putting us together with a bunch of people who aren't like us and who don't agree with us.
    Years ago I attended a nondenominational mega church. The preacher walked on eggshells whenever he discussed doctrine so as not to run off any of his diverse flock. The sermons were always just politics and self-help nonsense. There was no unity there only civility.

    At the same time I was part of a small cell group. This group was blessed to include a couple of Lutherans some Pentecostals, Baptists and a few other miscellaneous souls. We had long deep sometimes-loud discussions about predestination, whether tongues had ceased and about anything else you can think of. On some things we came to consensus and on others not. All the wile we ate together studied the Bible together and prayed for each other.

    If I knew then what I know now I would have tried to nail down better everyone’s stand on Justification by Christ’s work alone but I felt a unity there that was amazing. That kind of unity can never be found in a group of 100 or more people even if we agreed on every thing.

    Just imagine networks of thousands of interconnected small groups like that one and you have an idea of what the early church must of looked like. Maybe some day the Church will look that way again. That’s what I’m praying for.

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