God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
We are a small informal house church located in warren counity nj
worshipping god in truth and spirit according to the Lutheran worship
Ah... this explains a few things. On your other note concerning gifts. I have been in the Charismatic world for a long time. It was finally after being on staff at a major ministry for a few years that my wife and I "ran away." I am a person who fully believes in the gifts of today...however, I can tell you in all honesty that the ability to fake the gifts is in full swing. As an example, I know of an assistant pastor who was very well-known in the prophetic from the 1990s to 2010. He would often stand in front of crowds and give strong prophetic words about people's lives. Very few knew he had a secretary who was paid to wander around the crowds during breaks and listen into conversations to give her boss the information he needed to prophesy. And yes, that man was also well known for his harshness to his staff (1Cor13) That is just one of many examples I know of personally.
The real problem as I see it, is that it will be even harder for the real because so many are "gun shy" of the big-name fakers.
As these days grow darker and darker, spiritual gifting presented must be known by Love. Otherwise, it will mean very little.
I fear that I may be opening a can of worms with this question :-)
Ever since the post on the church having the wrong priority (https://housechurch.org/page/view-discussion?id=117), I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying on the kingdom of God. It seems that Mr. Perks has a point in that Matt 6:33 tells us that pursuit the kingdom of God comes first in our Christian life. After all, it's there in both the verse and in the context. Yet I can't say that I have a good handle on the phrase "kingdom of God" so I decide that a little research is necessary. This can't be all *that* difficult, can it?
So I start with my trusty friend Google. "What is the kingdom of God?", I ask, half expecting kingdomofgod.com to appear in the first search result with the perfect answer to my query. Instead I get a random collection of pages with different interpretations of the phrase. I see comments like "scholars can't agree on what it is" and "Jesus never defined the kingdom in so many words". Uh oh, looks like this is fast becoming a dead end path. Well, it's Google anyway, so what did I _really_ expect?
Moving on, I crack open my Young's Literal Translation of the Bible to see what it has to say. I find this translation good because it doesn't change passive to active tense and it just lets God's Word speak for itself. So where to start? How about Matt 6:33 - "Seek ye first the kingom of God". So, I look up the chapter and verse and it says this...
but seek ye first the reign of God and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you
Wait a minute, reign of God? I thought that it was the Kingdom of God, with a capital K! So I check Mark 1:15. Sure enough, I once again see "reign". Back to the Lord's prayer in Matt 6 and all I see is "reign". This can't be right. Reign is a verb, not a noun like "kingdom", yes?
So then I check to see what Daniel Webster has to say about the word "reign". He reminds me that it's both a noun and a verb. It's a verb as in, "King Henry VIII reigned over England from 1509 until 1547". And a noun as in "The reign of King Henry VIII". Is it possiblle that the "reign of God" is both? The noun form implies both a location and a timeline. The timeline is easy since God is sovereign forever. But what about location? Then I remember what Jesus said about the kingdom of God being "within you" (Luke 17:20-21, ESV)...
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Now my journey is even more confused, so I turn to my Interlinear Bible (https://biblehub.com/interlinear/matthew/6-33.htm) for help. It translates the word "basileian" in Matt 6:33 as "kingdom". Yet when I look it up online (https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/basileia.html) then I see this...
NAS Word Usage - Total: 163
1. royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
1. not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
2. of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
3. of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah's kingdom
2. a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king
3. used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah
To say that this is less than helpful is an understatement. Instead of clarifying the word usage, it confirms the dual nature of the noun and verb that I am seeking to clarify
At this point I feel that I could use the collective wisdom of this group. I'm feeling that the word "reign" is a much better choice for translation because it clearly states God's power over His dominion rather than it being implied in the word "kingdom". I think that it also helps keep us humble when talking about that which God owns. While one might presume from Luke 17:20-21 that we, the body of Christ, are the kingdom, the same could not be said about God's reign. God's reign acts within us, but we are not His reign. And finally, going back to Matt 6:33, to "seek first the reign of God and His righteousness" seems to make the reign and the righteousness one single thought rather than a separate kindom and the righteousness within it
Hi there, dear Robert. Just as the content of this entry is facetious, so is the title. Yes, it's crazy.
Rusty, the author, was a proponent of house churches back at the turn of the century. No doubt he was attempting to challenge others in a humorous way. Here's a little more about him from social media. https://twitter.com/Athanatsius
On a serious note, it seems that there is a very real interplay of sorts in a scriptural church meeting. Just as everyone has the right, privilege, and duty to address the assembly, so also God has appointed elders (approved older ones) to be teachers and shepherds. "Not all are teachers," the scripture reminds us.
We must also remember that in the Corinthian church, the charismatic gifts were regularly and proudly exhibited. I would not say that they have altogether ceased today but I have been in several (most) groups where these gifts were not in operation. And frankly, I am a little suspicious of several TV personalities who claim to have the gift of healing. I'm not here to judge others in regard to this matter - I can only speak from my own experience.
God tells us to love one another - which is usually more edifying than spiritual gifts. Both have their place, no doubt.
Also, it should be kept in mind that though "all" and "everyone" could participate with their charismatic gifts, only "two or three" tongue-speakers and prophets were to speak on one occasion. And an interpreter was required, too, if needed. So, it would appear to me that there were actually a few restrictions (and good principles) in place. Restrictions into promote order in these open meetings. Meetings which were a far cry from today where everyone is essentially "put on mute".
Finally, Paul appears to be giving out directions here for "all the churches." Therefore, IF in the passage of time, some or all of the charismatic gifts were eventually no longer possessed or utilized, the principle of freedom among the saints to speak up would still be in effect.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13
What crazy translation is this?
How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, the pastor hath a doctrine, and the minister of music hath psalms.
Let all things be done unto worship.
If anyone besides the pastor hath a doctrine, let him not speak: let him hold his peace. Let him sit in the pew and face the back of the neck of the person which sitteth ahead of him.
Let the people keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith church tradition.
But if they will learn anything, let them ask their pastor after the service for it is a shame for a layman to speak in the church. For the pastor, he hath a seminary degree. And the layman, he hath not so lofty a degree.
If any man desire to remain a church member in good standing, let him acknowledge that what I write to you is the command of the denominational headquarters.
But if any man ignore this, he shall be promptly escorted out the door by the ushers. Wherefore brothers, covet not to speak in the church.
Let all things be done decently and in the order in which it hath been written in the church bulletin.
Rusty Entrekin, author and resident of Georgia
At times I have the tendency to overcomplicate things. House Church concepts have helped me to stay focused on what is most important. I would like to share a chapter on a book I am writing entitled, "The Simplicity of Christ."
This is a very helpful article. I wonder how many read this in the Evangelical Quarterly and took it to heart? How we need simple, clear, thorough, and reasonable teachings on this subject today.
Elders really are elders! Should we be surprised?
But what were they "appointed" to? Oversight or bishoping - the only thing which they could be appointed to. This was understood when elders were said to be ordained.
Was every older man to meet the qualifications of oversight? I would think so. Note how Peter addresses the older ones, who were among them. Not imported from beyond. Which has made a lot of problems in the last few hundred years. The church I was raised in, for example, was needlessly split by a young guy fresh out of seminary...
Was there a formal distinction made between elders which rule and those who teach? Not really, although in any group there will be those who excel in different areas. Remember, every elder is to be a teacher.
1 Peter. 5:-5 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
The Reformation is now more than 500 years old. When will we come to the agreement that there are but two basic officers? Elders to shepherd and deacons to assist. Will it take another 500 years to figure this out, during which time churches continually shrink and die for the lack of a salaried "teaching" elder?
Todd, Thanks for posting this. You wrote: "And this has lead to the rise of these charismatic preachers because there is no accountability to Christ coming from within the church body."
It got me thinking of accountability. There is accountability, but not always to Christ. In order to become popular, some are careful to not offend the people who support them.
Your point about "preaching" as proclaiming instead of lecturing is important. Even teaching in the scriptures often implies dialog. I realize too that there is a place for a monologue as in the preaching of Billy Graham in a stadium. However, as the original post points out, that was not the norm in New Testament times.
Many times I have heard he story of Paul preaching so long that a boy feel into a deep sleep and fell down from the third floor. The Greek word is the one from where we get "dialog." In other places it is translated "reasoned with."
There is a book entitled, "The influence of Greek ideas on Christianity." In it the author shows how the Greeks developed the art of public speaking until it was more about entertaining or persuasion than instruction. As Christianity moved westward, it moved gradually away from the New Testament patterns. It is an interesting read.
My work as a computer programmer often has me relating seemingly disparate events into a single, cohesive "big picture" narrative. I hope that you'll forgive me for doing what now comes so naturally to me. I hope that my comments will be edifying for the entire community...
Over the last few days, I've been thinking about the recent post on TF Torrence and the rise of the popular minister in the church (https://housechurch.org/page/view-article?id=8). I couldn't agree more with that article. As I read it, it reminded me of a question that I have been meaning to follow up on. That question is this... does the word "preach" in the Bible mean what the church says it does today, which is synonymous with "lecture". After all, when Joel Osteen stands in front of 45,000 congregants each week, he effectively has a bully pulpit and can say whatever he wants. When was the last time you sat in a church and the pastor said something suspect and someone stood up in the congregation to say, "hey, wait a minute buddy, that just doesn't sound right. Here's what I think Scripture means"? I actually saw this happen once when I was quite young and the old guy in the row directly in front of me stood up from the pew to question the pastor's teaching. But because we are trained to be "reverent" and let the guy behind the pulpit run the show, no one ever actually makes such challenges. Our culture today very much values the opinions of the "experts". This is just as much, of not more, true in the church today. And this has lead to the rise of these charismatic preachers because there is no accountability to Christ coming from within the church body
So if you've made it this far (and thanks if you have 😀 ), you must be asking yourself what this has to do with Christ teaching in the Temple. Where I see a connection is that I believe to "preach" or "proclaim" does not necessarily mean to "lecture". Sure, there is a time and place for lecturing, but I do not think that it's intended to be exclusive for communicating the Word. Indeed, I wonder if it's even meant to be an activity that takes up the majority of our efforts when it comes to the time spent teaching and preaching. Indeed, when Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem to find Jesus in the temple, Scripture tells us that He was "sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." (Luke 2:46b). Imagine that... the Savior of the world and Lord of all creation sitting and asking questions of some puny humans. If anyone had reason to be a lecturer on Scripture it would have been Jesus at this time and in this place. Yet He chose to listen to and question them rather than tell them what they should believe. He taught interactively
We see the same of Paul with the men of Athens. While Paul did in fact proclaim Christ, the Bible also mentions that "[Paul] was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews" (Acts 17:17). This does not sound much to me like a one-way conversation. Indeed, when Paul writes in the New Testament he often asks questions that I'm sure that he'd been asked before. He is aware of the objections and seeks to answer them. This is completely different teaching method than anything that we see in churches today
Thank you so much for your post, brother. You help open our eyes to the truth of Scripture perhaps far beyond what you had originally intended
So I guess I have not “introduced” what we have, Sorry about that. At the moment we started over a year ago a Christian Publishing company. Most likely trying to start it during Covid and the economic downturn was not the best idea, but we are still alive by our bootstraps.
Breadstone Publishing has two books published. A teaching book called “My Fathers House,” it is a very similar mindset to many of the discussions on this website. A link to the book is here… https://breadstonepublishing.com/product/my-fathers-house/
And the second book is called, “Fading Starlight.” This is a Christian Science Fiction and the first in a long line of books under the banner of “The Legacy Continuum.” Starlight is a family-friendly book and has spiritual concepts woven into it. A link to the book is here… https://breadstonepublishing.com/product/fading-starlight/
Breadstone’s other project is a monthly e-magazine called Breadstone Community. It is a collection of various authors all volunteering their time, covering a wide range of subjects. We give the first-year subscription away for free, under the belief that if the subscriber really likes the product they will pay for the second year, as some have already done. A link to the free subscription is here… https://breadstonepublishing.com/new-subscription/
And of course, the main link is https://breadstonepublishing.com
Yeh, I'm not getting into the system either
This old painting recalls the open spirit of the Temple and synagogues and of house meetings, too. An "open-mike" sort of meeting. Where ideas were tried and considered, questions posed and answered.
The original painting, by German Heinrich Hofmann, went to auction less than a year ago. Very interesting.
Oh my, think of the trust among neighbors and relatives wherein a child could be separated from parents for many hours and nobody seemed to be worried.
Years later, Paul the apostles wrote: Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 1 Corinthians 14:29. Prove all things, hold onto what is good! 1 Thessalonians 5:21
"Young folks are not taught much history anymore." LOL, very true. Several years ago I was a supervisor at a mid-level Christian publisher. Everyone on my team was at least 20 years younger than me. One day I was talking with a young woman (22 years old) who was very proud of her Cherokee heritage. So as we talked I used the example of the trail of tears to illustrate a point. This woman had no idea what I was talking about and I was kinda dumbfounded that she did not know. Later one of the guys in his late 30s explained the situation to me. "You understand because you had a "classical education!"
Hi all. Young folks are not taught much history anymore. Likewise, good literature is becoming more and more scarce unless you dig around for it.
Here's a very unusual piece that emphasizes how Christians can learn zeal from others - farmers, in this case. Just one caveat: In the 1600's, the word "religion" simply referred one's life-wide relationship with God and his will for their behavior. It had nothing to do with the overtones of Phariseeism which is now attached to it by modern word-benders. Today it's become a synonym for outward expressions and formalities, usually disingenuous.
Religion WHEN advanc¹d in pow¹r,
Will make you HUSBAND every hour.
'Twill make MEN strive with all their might,
And therein FIND a sweet delight.
If there were NOUGHT besides that pay
Christ gives TO cheer us in our way;
Should we not DO the best we can?
For there¹s NO such reward from man.
Shall others WORK, and not regard
Their strength TO get a small reward?
Whilst we TURN slugs, and loiter thus?
O that THEIR zeal might quicken us.
Why are our HANDS, and feet so slow,
When we UNTO our business go?
How can we THEN Christ¹s pay expect,
And yet the CHRISTIANS work reject,
If this, then ALSO that embrace
Them both; IF not, we both disgrace.
Some if THEY could these two divide,
'Twould PLEASE them well, with Christ to side
But if they MAY not, then it were
As good CEASE pleading, they¹ll not hear:
Rouse up FROM sloth, my soul betake
Thee to thy WORK, no cavils make.
O strive, AND try Saints say that even,
The pain they TAKE, hath much of heaven.
But yet THEIR best wine¹s kept till last,
Their rest, and EASE comes all so fast.
Now, read the capitalized words in each line down ↓ the page for an extra bonus message, in timely rhyme of course. This is some type of sonnet, I beleive.
It's an important message, btw, as uninformed and lazy persons still desire all the rewards of Jesus without bothering with his cross. I am also tempted to behave in such a way. The soul of the sluggard desires and has nothing but the desire of the diligent shall be fully satisfied. Proverbs 13:4
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed ‹not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence ‹continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Phil. 2:12-13
Hi, so Breadstone Publishing runs a monthly e-magazine. We are new but our subscriber ship is slowly growing. Since this is a writer's group, we are opening it up for possible people to add articles to the magazine. If you want to know more, please click on the link provided below.
Nowhere does justification by Christ alone have more radical consequences than in regard to the pastoral ministry. Justification by Christ is grounded upon his mighty Act in which he took our place, substituting himself for us under the divine judgment, and substituting himself for us in the obedient response he rendered to God in worship and thanksgiving and praise. In himself he has opened up a way to the Father, so that we may approach God solely through him and on the ground of what he has done and is—therefore we pray in his Name, and whatever we do, we do in his Name before God. Thus the whole of our worship and ministry reposes upon the substitutionary work of Christ. Now the radical nature of that is apparent from the fact that through substituting himself in our place there takes place a displacement of our humanity by the humanity of Christ—that is why Jesus insists that we can only follow him by denying ourselves, by letting him displace us from a place of centrality and by letting Him take our place.
At the Reformation this doctrine had immediate effect in the overthrow of Roman sacerdotalism—Jesus Christ is our sole Priest. He is the one and only Man who can mediate between us and God, so that we approach God solely through the mediation of the Humanity of Jesus, through his incarnate Priesthood.
When the Humanity of Christ is depreciated or whenever it is obscured by the sheer majesty of his Deity then the need for some other human mediation creeps in—hence in the Dark and Middle Ages arose the need for a human priesthood to mediate between sinful humanity and the exalted Christ, the majestic Judge and King. There was of course no denial of the Deity of Christ by the Reformers—on the contrary they restored the purity of faith in Christ as God through overthrowing the accretions that compromised it; but they also restored the place occupied in the New Testament and the Early Church by the Humanity of Christ, as he who took our human nature in order to be our Priest, as he who takes our side and is our Advocate before the judgment of God, and who once and for all has wrought out atonement for us in his sacrifice on the Cross, and therefore as he who eternally stands in for us as our heavenly Mediator and High Priest.
The Church on earth lives and acts only as it is directed by its heavenly Lord, and only in such a way that his Ministry is reflected in the midst of its ministry and worship, 'therefore from first to last the worship and ministry of the Church on earth must be governed by the fact that Christ substitutes himself in our place, and that our humanity with its own acts of worship, is displaced by his, so that we appear before God not in our own name, not In our own significance, not in virtue of our own acts of confession, contrition, worship, and thanksgiving, but solely in the name of Christ and solely in virtue of what he has done in our name and on our behalf, and in our stead. Justification by Christ alone means that from first to last in the worship of God and in the ministry of the Gospel Christ himself is central, and that we draw near in worship and service only through letting him take our place. He only is Priest. He only represents humanity. He only has an offering with which to appear before God and with which God is well-pleased. He only presents our prayers before God, and he only is our praise and thanksgiving and worship as we appear before the face of the Father. Nothing in our hands we bring—simply to his Cross we cling.
But what has happened in Protestant worship and ministry? Is it not too often the case that the whole life and worship of the congregation revolves around the personality of the minister? He is the one who is in the center; he offers the prayers of the congregation; he it is who mediates 'truth' through his personality, and he it is who mediates between the people and God through conducting the worship entirely on his own. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of the popular minister where everything centers on him and the whole life of the congregation is built round him. What is that but Protestant sacerdotalism, sacerdotalism which involves the displacement of the Humanity of Christ by the humanity of the minister, and the obscuring of the Person of Christ by the personality of the minister? How extraordinary that Protestantism should thus develop a new sacerdotalism, to be sure a psychological rather than a sacramental sacerdotalism, but a sacerdotalism nonetheless, in which it is the personality of the minister which both mediates the Word of God to man and mediates the worship of man to God!
Protestant Churches are full of these ’psychological priests’ and more and more they evolve a psychological cult and develop a form of psychological counselling which displaces the truly pastoral minntry of Christ. How frequently, for example, the ministers prayers are so crammed with his own personality (with all its boring idiosyncrasies!) that the worshipper cannot get post him in order to worship God in the name of Christ—but is forced to worship God in the name of the ministerI How frequently the sermon is not an exposition of the Word of God but an exposition of the minister’s own views on this or that subject! And how frequently the whole life of the congregation is so built up on the personality of the minister that when he goes the congregation all but collapses or dwindles away!
There can be no doubt that the whole concept of the ministry and of worship in our Reformed Churches needs to be brought back to the criticism of the Word of God in order that we may learn again the meaning of justification by Christ alone in the midst of the Church’s life and work. Jesus Christ must be given his rightful place by being set right in the center, as Head and Lord of the Church, as its sole Prophet and Priest and King, and that means in the midst of our preaching, in the basic notion of the ministerial office, in the fundamental mode of worship, and in the whole life of the congregation as the Body of Christ alone.
Theology in Reconstruction, p 166-168 1965
A notable theologian from Scotland and a child of two missionaries to China. I will cut and paste the list of his major works below. He appears to be a man not inferior in knowledge. Haha. Thankfully, belief in the gospel does not require extensive learning at all. From what I can tell, Torrance would gladly say: And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Yes, he is correct regarding many modern ministers as sadly participating in a priestly psyco-cult. One in which their continual themes, books, and sermons are about self-improvement and self-enrichment rather than service to others in Jesus' name and obedience to his Kingdom mission on Earth.
- The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1948
- Calvin’s Doctrine of Man. London: Lutterworth Press, 1949.
- Kingdom and Church: A Study in the Theology of the Reformation, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1956.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/2 The Doctrine of the Word of God. Prolegomena, Part 2, translated by G.T. Thomson and H. Knight. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1956.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/1 The Doctrine of Reconciliation, Part I, translated by G.W. Bromiley. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1956.
- When Christ Comes and Comes Again. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1957.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II/1, The Doctrine of God, translated by T.H.L. Parker, W.B. Johnston, H. Knight and J.L.M. Haire. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II/2, The Doctrine of God, translated by G.W. Bromiley, J.C. Campbell, I. Wilson, J. Strathern McNab, H. Knight and R.A. Stewart. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/1, The Doctrine of Creation, Part 1, translated by J.W. Edwards, O. Bussey and H. Knight. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1958.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/2, Part 2, The Doctrine of Reconciliation, translated by G.W. Bromiley. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1958.
- Editor, "The Mystery of the Lord's Supper: Sermons by Robert Bruce", Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 1958.
- The Apocalypse Today. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.
- Conflict and Agreement in the Church, I: Order and Disorder. London: Lutterworth Press, 1959.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/2. The Doctrine of Creation, Part 2, Translated by H. Knight, J.K.S. Reid, G.W. Bromiley and R.H. Fuller. Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1960.
- Coedited with G.W. Bromiley: Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/3. The Doctrine of Creation, Part 3, Translated by G.W. Bromiley and R. Ehrlich. Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1960.
- "Justification: Its Radical Nature and Place in Reformed Doctrine and Life," SJT 13 (1960) 240.
- Conflict and Agreement in the Church, II: The Ministry and Sacraments of the Gospel. London: Lutterworth Press, 1960.
- Karl Barth: an Introduction to his Early Theology, 1910-1931. London: SCM Press; New York: Harper & Row, 1962.
- "Scientific Hermeneutics according to St. Thomas Aquinas." The Journal of Theological Studies XIII.2 (October, 1962): 259–89.
- Coedited with D.W. Torrance, Calvin's Commentaries, The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, translated by T.A. Smail. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964.
- Theology in Reconstruction. London: SCM Press Ltd, 1965.
- Coedited with D.W. Torrance, Calvin's Commentaries, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, translated by T.H.L Parker. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965.
- Coedited with D.W. Torrance, Calvin's Commentaries, The Acts of the Apostles 14-26, translated by J.W. Fraser. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1966.
- Coedited with D.W. Torrance, Calvin's Commentaries, A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, 3 vols. Vols 1 and 3 translated by A.W. Morrison and vol. 2 translated by T.H.L. Parker. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1972; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1968.
- Space, Time and Incarnation. London: Oxford University Press, 1969
- Theological Science. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
- "The Problem of Natural Theology in the Thought of Karl Barth." Religious Studies 6 (1970): 121–35.
- God and Rationality. London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
- "The Relation of the Incarnation to Space in Nicene Theology," The Ecumenical World of Orthodox Civilization: Russia and Orthodoxy. vol. 3. (Essays in Honor of Georges Florovsky) ed. Andrew Blane. Paris: Mouton, 1974.
- Theology in Reconciliation: Essays towards Evangelical and Catholic Unity in East and West. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1975.
- "Toward Ecumenical Consensus on the Trinity," Theologische Zeitschrift 31 (1975) 337–50.
- Space, Time and Resurrection. Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1976
- The Ground and Grammar of Theology. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1980.
- Christian Theology and Scientific Culture, vol. 1 of series, Theology and Scientific Culture, edited with general foreword by Torrance. New Edition. Belfast: Christian Journals; New York: Oxford University Press, 1981
- Divine and Contingent Order. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
- The Incarnation: Ecumenical Studies in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Edinburgh: The Handsel Press, 1981.
- Reality and Evangelical Theology. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1982.
- A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, James Clerk Maxwell, edited by Torrance, Scottish Academic Press, February 1983, ISBN 0-7073-0324-9
- "The Deposit of Faith." The Scottish Journal of Theology 36.1 (1983): 1-28.
- Transformation & Convergence in the Frame of Knowledge: Explorations in the Interrelations of Scientific and Theological Enterprise. Belfast: Christian Journals; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1984.
- The Christian Frame of Mind. Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1985
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I think David’s second paragraph speaks to the center of the issue. As we are now reaping the whirlwind of centuries of self-centered religious constructs. The reformation did a good job of getting people pointed in the right direction, but Luther did little for connecting people to the Father’s heart. In reality, it only gave the people another “system” to attach to. We simply exchanged one system for another.
Right now the bulk of the Body of Christ is still interconnected with the church system. Pastors & denominational heads will do whatever they feel justified in doing to protect their market share of believers. Yes, we are a market commodity and each week we return for our weekly religious dose of either entertainment or condemning preaching. This endless cycle produces little spiritual fruit but produces an undercurrent of unrest all around us. Not only within the body but some pastors as well as they feel “stuck” in a system that bares little resemblance to the things Jesus promised.
How can the Body move forward in the things of God if we are interlocked in a pointless system? These are some of the hard questions I have asked myself and written about in my book, “My Fathers House.”
Right now… the quest is to divorce from our minds the lifeless institutional forms and rediscover the Well of his Presence that He has been offering to us down through the ages.
I know in some ways what I am saying is taking the conversation away from the topic of prepping. But in some ways, this is the center of the issue. Because, if Christ truly lives in us will we need rules to follow? I think not, for the law (rules) is for the unbelievers and served its purpose until Christ came. Now, Grace has come and we are to be governed by the Spirit within. That is one of the reasons for the biblical qualifications of Eldership. They are to be examined to see if mature biblical fruit lives in them.
Let's take a look at James 2,
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” 14-17
James draws out a great example here. Basically, if one of your own family is naked and starving and all you do is spiritually bless them with words and walk away, then what good is your faith? Did they not just prove by their own actions that what is within them is dead?
And is this not what the powerless church does today? They pray for the people, but do nothing physical for them in the end.
So, should a righteous person prep?
Let me ask this question, Noah was considered righteous, what kind of long-term planning and storing up did he do? Would he be considered faithless in the 21st. Century because he was not “trusting God?”
How does the system prevent the Kingdom from moving forward?
Let me ask this question. How many of you have served for long periods of time in the church system as a leader? Day after day, year after year growing more and more tired? You're worn out and the concept of taking on just one more thing just makes your whole body freeze up in a panic. Now compare that to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well about the wellspring of life. Did leadership lose its wellspring? Or did they ever have it to begin with?
The reality is the church is a purse full of holes and it's getting drier and drier inside for a lot of people. In Charismatic circles, biblical social responsibilities are often pushed to the side as you seek more “showy” demonstrations (healing, deliverance, ect) so that people will stay, give more and keep the system running longer.
As a result, by our own actions, we have taken faith out of the fellowship and replaced it with a religious Idol that we call “the system.”
What happens to Idols?
Consider this biblical principle from Psalms 115. God through the psalmist declares, “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. V8” Those who make the system will become like the system they worship, and so is the danger to any who put their trust in it.
To sum up.
Why do Christians in this age have such a problem with acting on issues that were not an issue in days past? In my view, it's because we have taken scripture and stuffed it into the box, and redefined its basic core from an institutional viewpoint. This was never meant to be. Jesus did not die for the church, he died to set his people free from sin and to proclaim the coming Kingdom. He did not die for “the form,” he died to bring life.
Some people see the church as “everything,” let me say something that might offend some people who think that - “that thinking is simply the evidence of how you were programmed.” You see the church is not the Kingdom. The church is a by-product of the Kingdom.
Jesus came to give us a relationship with the Father. This is all relationship-based, the Jewish Christians understood this, and for a time so did the ancient forms of Celtic Christianity. It is through the Son, by his blood, that he has pulled us into a family. Now we need to learn to act like a family and care for each other.
This is why some modern people don’t understand Jesus’ words to John concerning his mother. In our modern day, she would be shipped off to old folks’ homes to “make way for the deeds of the Apostles!” But in a biblical mindset built on a foundation of a relationship, Mary had a home, she was to be carried for. And doesn’t that help fulfill John 13:35 that the world will know us by our Love?
Thanks Todd. It has been a great experience for me to be among those of differing traditions that all agree that Jesus is God incarnate. I have learned much about Him from many, and hope we can at times even discuss our differences with respect and in the desire to grow.
Robert, that is such a pivotable text. And ne which we seldom hear. It takes the thoughtful reader into many directions at once. Thank you for having the courage to post it.
Why are there so few ‘sermons’ preached on this matter? Could it possibly be that some ’preachers’ might see this theme as translating into less funding for themselves?
I ask because many churches operate under very tight budgets. So tight that there is little or no support for missionaries or evangelists - much less a needs-based welfare assistance plan.
Can a person lose their salvation, now that they are worse than an infidel?
Is the ’New Testament God’ also one who speaks in stern warnings? I notice He is referred to as consuming fire in the book of Hebrews, I believe.
This text seems to be in the context of widows - how much more then our immediate families?
Is the family not under a ceaseless, ruthless attack today - even by the state? And not without the complicity of many churches, too?
We have often heard that the early church was an organism - not an organization. Hmmm. Really? It had regular meetings. Officers with defined roles. A special meal. Membership requirements. And here, a welfare system for those with no relatives.
Has not the church lost much of its relevance in view of it having relegated charity to the civil government?
Here again, the early church is exercising a filtering process with regards to who receives charity or honor. It is needs-based. Not a perpetual salary for all seniors. Paul spoke of honoring certain widows or female elders in the above chapter.
Naturally, his thoughts would also go to the senior men or appointed elders of the church. Those male elders were worthy of "double honor" if certain criteria were met. This is not the same as a regular salary for one man who is basically dominating a church's ministry, as others are silenced. No, we are talking about the conditional needs of the elderly. A term which, btw, had thousands of years of consistent meaning. I E, older man.
Many questions arise here as we view the modern landscape.
Finally, let us remember our dying Savior's unselfish words from the Cross - "Behold your Mother". And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
We received constructive criticism several days ago and are always grateful for it. We readily admit that there are usability issues which must be fixed.
David, have y’all considered putting a help section up for answering questions concerning the website? Various parts of it do not seem to navigate well, or not at all. If there was a FAQ section for people like myself, that would be very helpful in trying to figure out some of this.
True enough. There is a Help link at the bottom of each page. Most, however do not scroll down to the very bottom. Yes, it needs to be expanded and better organized. Organization, by the way, is our goal. To be able to present things in an organized way. Otherwise, your precious time is being wasted. And that is poor stewardship.
Case in point…Groups. I assumed that if I went to groups and started one for ours, I would be able to add myself as a member. But I can’t figure out how. Also, I see others have added profile pictures, but every time I try it adds it as a background. So I thought maybe if I add it to photos it will allow me to pull from that. It did not, in fact, it deleted what I added.
"Groups" is a one word menu/navigation item which is surely misleading. It is for local and state-wide groups. Not individual house churches. House churches can be found on the map. The map is here. https://housechurch.org/page/locations-map
From the Help page: "Groups, state and national, will be developed over time. Some are in place already. Please feel free to join and to post your local interests. Please inform us if you would like to see a particular group to be formed."
I hope that eventually there will be enough interest so that these groups will form. Presently, I think that the "Create Group" is disabled, which resulted in the deletion you experienced. For now, if you email me, I can add your group.
The problem here is there are many ways to name a group. Unless there is a consistent naming convention, the names will make too much confusion. The Group name should have the Country, the state or Province first, in order for a quick search - if the list of groups increases.
As always, we appreciate the positive feedback. If one visitor notices things amiss, many others do also. Our thanks go out today to the caring person who took the time and called the issues to our attention.
By the way, if you have a website, ministry, or business of any kind, please take a moment in the Discussion Forums and tell others. The Forum category to choose is called: your internet sites.
David Anderson, serving as site administrator
Hey Dan, thanks for the response. Don't worry about the length. If you write a novel then I will read it. :-)
You have made some good points here. If it's ok with you, I'd like to focus on your thoughts about the Gnostics as I believe that they are providential to this discussion. I don't know if you're familiar with Matt Whitman on YouTube, but he interviews church leaders from many expressions of the Christian faith as a way to promote unity in the church. His most recent video was on the Anglican church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-yVCbEGWos&t=190s). I left a comment thanking Matt for his efforts, then expressed my great distress when Communion is used as a tool for segregating Christians rather than unifying them. As I was writing about how many Christian churches use made up rules to limit access to the Lord's table, the word "Gnosticism" came to mind. Perhaps it was because I had first read your comment to me here a few days before, and if so, thank you for putting that term into my memory. Regardless, I feel like church leaders who promote human-made rules for the practice of their churches are themselves Gnostics. Perhaps not in the classic sense of the Gnostics of the first century AD, but Gnostics nonetheless with their emphasis on their own private interpretations of Scripture. Please understand that I am not opposed to anyone who would attempt to interpret Scripture using the words God gas placed there before them. What I find troubling is when those interpretations drive a wedge between us. For example, I am what most people would call a Calvinist in my interpretation of God's actions in our salvation. But for as much as I hold the doctrine of election to be true, I am certainly not going to let it impact my interest or ability to break bread with others in the name of Jesus. As long as you confess that Jesus is God Incarnate (Matt 16 and 1 John 4) then you are a part of the club no matter how much I think that your theology is wrong. To do otherwise is to lack grace as found in the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18).
So maybe the word "Gnostic" is not the right word to describe church leaders today, but it certainly describes is the sentiment that I find as I dig deeper into this topic. We may have fancy confessions and church rulebooks that make all of our human judgments look official, but they do not rise to the level of Scripture and must therefore be revised or abandoned when their doctrine goes against the teachings of the Bible.
Thanks David. I'm not sure that I'm any more enlightened than anyone else in discussing this matter, but I do place a great emphasis on this particular subject as I'm struggling to find any institutional church where its leaders know the basic principles of the Christ faith. They may espouse many "truths", many of which are built on cultural understanding of Scripture and not based on deep study of the Word itself. I have been guilty of this myself, which is why I'm digging much deeper into the subject.
I very much appreciated your comment about "Papal Bull". :-) You are spot-on with that comment. I have always wondered how some Christians who rely on Apostolic Succession for their authority can also claim the cloak of infallibility for their pronouncements when Peter is such a mess sometimes. He was so bad in one instance (Gal 2) that Paul had to severely reprimand him.
I appreciate you pointing put that Peter calls himself a "a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ" in 1 Peter 5:1. That's good stuff.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 tim 5:8
The reality is the man in the video is correct. But he needs to go further and put an axe to the root of the problem. The church is not the Kingdom, the church is a perverted by-product of the Kingdom. Jesus never came to bring the church, he came to assemble a family to live in the Kingdom.
This is why I do not say I attend a church, I am a part of a fellowship. The “form/artificial life” will never give birth to life. Only true life can give birth to life.
Been meeting twice a month on Mondays for over a year, so I guess it's time to let people know about us. North Idaho area, Priest River to Diamond Lake WA. Currently, an older group who loves food, and most likely talks too much. Are we 100% Charismatic? No. Are we Messianic? No. But there are elements to all that we can appreciate. If you want to be kept up to date, then search for my profile on this website and follow it. Robert A. Foster
I have been helping my sister's family move across country. I've had no time for the internet lately. Thank you Todd and Dan for the good words. I don't know how I missed the imputation doctrine. It was not emphasized or else it went over my head.
Growing up, we used to sing a hymn called Christ the Solid Rock. It mentioned being "clothed in his righteousness alone. Faultless to stand before the throne." Until recently, I never understood the meaning but now I do. Having all my sins taken away today is not enough. Because I will surely sin again tomorrow. His righteousness is the answer. Praise his name!
Hi dear brother Todd.
Fascinating. I'm also struggling with the Kingdom concept.
To my surprise, Jesus used an earthly "political" term rather than a heavenly "spiritual" one to describe his domain.
No doubt He had in mind that everything was spiritual or sacred, in the end. No ultimate sacred and secular divide.
Remember the passage about even the bells of the horses as being "Holiness unto the Lord."?