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R C Cafe » House Church » Critics of House Church » HC and Statements of Faith
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Author HC and Statements of Faith
benzapped
      Texas


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I am new to this forum so please, if I stumble in some of the ground you have already plowed, please be patient with me.

I am seriously considering breaking away from the IC after over half a century of being a part of it. (I am a deacon, teacher, and occasonial lay preacher.) And I read much about how HC's avoid "organization" of virtually any kind. However, my experience has taught me that if a gathering of the called out does not have the fundamentals (non-negotiables) of what they believe in common, different gospels, division, strife, and turmiol will ensue. So to minimize that sort of thing, it seems natural to have a statement of faith written down where believers can see what they are wishing to become a part before they join.

So my qestion is, is it customary for HC's to have written statements of faith? If so, can they be accessed on-line?

Thank you in advance.

Ben

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Baruch haba b'shem Adonai

chubbena
      canada


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can't speak for this forum but for our little group at home our statement of faith is....well, the Bible. We are still in the middle of unlearning all we have learned at IC and starting all over again.
k_dianel
      Florida


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Ben,

I can't even find any people to assemble with, it's just my family here.

I know some homechurches are blessed to have a group of people but a lot are just one family here and one family there.

I've been to a lot of homechurches that just haven't been able to survive the turmoil.

First thing you need to do is come out of the IC you've been involved with.

I personally wouldn't worry about the statement of faith. Just come out of your church and start the learning process of "the real truth".

Personally, here I'm looking for the 144,000 and their group of people they have, if I can find any of them.

Anyone know anyone who thinks they are part of the 144,000?

Kim

JeanneH
      Superior Colorado


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Hi Ben!

I am part of a house church network that does have a statement of faith, although it is my oppinion that one is not really needed. When part of an IC we get used to the idea that all must be tightly organized and regulated lest heresy fall upon the masses! Although there is organization in home churches, it is of a relational and fluid nature. The Bible likens the church to a family. There is certainly organization in families (or at least there should be), but it does not look like the organization that runs a large business. I am married and have 4 kids- we have rules in our house as well as general principles that we believe and live by. Most rules reflect a beleived principle but are flexible. For example everyone is expected to be home for dinner because we value gathering together- spending time together as a family. but of course dinner time varies, and there are times when someone is not able to make it and that is ok. More value driven "rules" have to do with how we treat one another, or what we watch or don't watch on TV. Now when one of the kids ask "why" it would be easier to hand them some written page and tell them to study up, but wouldn't it be more effective if we sat down together, pulled out the Bible, and researched the answer together? It is similar for even just the basics of the gospel. When one of our kids begin to question about God, Jesus etc., or if they spout out an unbiblical belief that they have heard at school would it be more effective to hand them a statement of faith or to sit down with them and the Bible and discuss it together?

Even though our house church does have a statement of faith we have never used it. When new people come, much of what we beleive is clear very quickly as we study the Bible together weekly, and they have the oppertunity to prsonaly interact, ask questions, etc. There is a teenage boy who attends with his mom from time to time. When he first started coming he questioned everything, and was constantly contradicting what others said. We could have given him a statement of faith but I think it was much more effective for him to be around us as an extended spiritual family being able to ask questions and hear from different people the word of God. Interestingly this young man, after many weeks of heated arguments (heated on his side, not so much ours), came to the Lord! He stood up after a meeting, became dizzy and sat back down. My husband went to him and prayed for him (as he felt the spirit leading him to do). Shortly after this it was clear that he had become a believer. The Bible made sense to him, he no longer argued, but began engaging in discussions with input that was clearly from the Lord.

Anyway, just my opinion. Welcome to the forum!

--------------------
Jeanne

Pat Sipp
      Chandler, Arizona, USA


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Wonderfully put Jeanne! Ditto to everything shared!

Welcome to the forum, BenZapped (great name). I wrote something that touches on this Statement of Faith topic that may or may not be of interest: http://www.christianhomechurch.com/1/post/2010/08/why-do-you-believe-that.html

In my experience, the safety and peace that comes from being able to go directly to the Word to SHOW others why we believe what we believe is unmatched. A supplemental document isn't necessary and could become a sort of a crutch, for lack of a better term. As the group grows deeper in the word, you might find that it needs regular updating. The word won't.

You bring up a reasonable concern about "non-negotiables" for agreement's sake. From a practical perspective, if we can agree to not add to or take away from the scriptures, we're on the safest ground aren't we? And if we preach or teach it openly, we must be accountable for it openly.

For example, If Bro. Bob wants to teach on "the trinity," or want to share about "the rapture," one should ask us where "trinity" or "rapture" are used in the Bible. If those words aren't there, perhaps we ought not use them. Instead, let's use the words and phrases that are there. Without fail, I've seen myself and others have a better grasp on what we really believe.

Welcome once again, BenZapped! And may the Lord add daily such as should be saved to the church in your house.

--------------------
Pat Sipperly www.ChristianHomeChurch.com

Lahry
      Arizona


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"So how do we enter in to this glorious victory in Christ Jesus? The same way He did. Present yourself a living sacrifice, dead unto sin and alive unto God. The Cross. To live beyond it, you must first die upon it, with Christ, by faith, and give no occasion to the flesh. None. Thanks be to God." - Lahry Sibley

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http://whosoeverwill.ning.com

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Hello everyone!

I have been wanting to rejoin the discussions here for some time, but just now finding something to comment on.

We have never had an actual statement of faith. We did have a mission statement, which the beginning members compiled. Never had much luck with new folks catching on to that one.

There have been times when a statement of faith might have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Several times people came around looking for a home church, only to find after several months that they disagreed strongly with something one person said. It was difficult for them to realize that not everyone, including myself held that position. They left of course.

By being open-minded and inclusive, trying to respect everyone, we offended some anyway. A basic statement of beliefs might reassure some that we are not a cult. OTOH, if people who see the Pre-trib Rapture as a non-negotiable knew up front some of our beliefs on that, they might have passed from the start.

I can respect that. Some beliefs that I see as errors are easier to overlook than others. To say that the Bible is your statement of faith at least affirms that we see the Scripture as foundational. But extremely opposing interpretations of the Bible exist.

IF, you guys drew up a statement of faith, what would it say? Just curious.

Dan

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

D Anderson
      Bristol, TN USA


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Dan, so, so gooooooood to see you here once again, my brother. I know that you have been spreading yourself far and wide for our Lord and his Kingdom.

Where do we get our hands on some of your praise and worship music?

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by D Anderson:
Dan, so, so gooooooood to see you here once again, my brother. I know that you have been spreading yourself far and wide for our Lord and his Kingdom.

Where do we get our hands on some of your praise and worship music?

David,

So good to hear from you as well. I have a CD with 14 songs ready, but I am slow at getting permissions to use a couple of other writers music. I also need to register my original songs before making them available on the web.

Thanks for provoking me to get busy on that!

Dan

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

D Anderson
      Bristol, TN USA


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Does Brenda play guitar and sing on the CD? Any of your children?

Dan, we are hoping to get enough kayaks for everyone to get out in the lake and sing unto the Lord on the water. Carolynn accompanies on the flute and recorder (both water resistant). Exciting, huh?

Back to the subject at hand... here is irony: some churches have long "confessions of faith" and pay no attention to them at all - other churches have an "unwritten, unspoken" statement of faith and practice which, as a powerful and unseen undercurrent, controls just about everything on the surface. :-)

Me? I am committed to christian liberty FOR ALL in these matters with the caveat that a statement of faith should never cause other believers to feel unwelcome or excluded.

Birds of a feather, do they not eventually flock together?

k_dianel
      Florida


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I often think it's strange that I use to sit in a church and not care at all what the person right next to me believed.

Now I want to worship in a homechurch and suddenly everything is changed. Now we feel like we have to know absolutely everything the other person believes.

Maybe a happy middle?

Kim

benzapped
      Texas


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I sincerely thank you all for your suggestions and comments. Perhaps to expound a little more, I was not thinking so much about attempting to force people to accept others' beliefs, but to attempt to head off divisiveness that seems to invariably creep in to gatherings of believers when their beliefs and methods of worship are extremely varied. For example, if there is one who devoutly believes that Jesus was just a Jewish teacher and not divine, or if one did not believe Jesus actually died on the cross...or arose from the dead, would those beliefs not eventually be a problem in the fellowship of a body? And a big problem, especially in the teaching of the children? Should there not be some attempt to gather in groups of believers of like minds? In Philippians, Paul indicates that being of like mind, having the same love, being of one spirit and purpose, etc. is the goal for the assembly of the called out.

I was thinking for the benefit of the new attendee as well as the group. I know if I had a foundational belief--one I could not compromise, I would not want to become attached to a group of people who believed the opposite. I would not be comfortable, and by my presence neither would they. The fellowship would suffer. But a basic written statement should head that sort of thing off to the benefit of the Kingdom.

Some folks I talk with seem to view "organization" as being of the Devil. And taken to the extremes it likely is when it comes to church. But could a lack of organization be of the Devil too?...to confuse and cause strife? Organization, at least in my opinion, is a blessing from God--He gave us intelligence and logic as well as all the other gifts. Could not a smidgen of organization be a blessing to a congregation?

Please don’t interpret my reply as argumentative. I am sincerely seeking what is best for God’s Kingdom.

Blessings,
Ben

--------------------
Baruch haba b'shem Adonai

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by benzapped:


I was thinking for the benefit of the new attendee as well as the group. I know if I had a foundational belief--one I could not compromise, I would not want to become attached to a group of people who believed the opposite. I would not be comfortable, and by my presence neither would they. The fellowship would suffer. But a basic written statement should head that sort of thing off to the benefit of the Kingdom.


It is interesting that a situation just came up in our Bible study tonight. A lady who has been coming for several months felt the need to share that her background was one where the women were not to speak in a meeting, even a Bible study.

I explained that I respect those who sincerely understand the Scriptures in this way, and explained our position, and how we understood some of the Scriptures in question. It was a healthy, I think, discussion. She seemed comfortable with the response and thanked me.

If people just ask questions, and give an opportunity to answer, it works out better than a simple cold statement on paper. But just the same, after the meeting another friend brought up the idea of a statement of faith. We might get together and work up something for our own collective understanding.

A group can learn something of what God has in mind for us when we put our thoughts and words together like this. But I still cannot know how it should be presented to visitors or newcomers.

A web page might be a good place for something like this.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by D Anderson:
Does Brenda play guitar and sing on the CD? Any of your children?

Dan, we are hoping to get enough kayaks for everyone to get out in the lake and sing unto the Lord on the water. Carolynn accompanies on the flute and recorder (both water resistant). Exciting, huh?

David,

Brenda did vocals on one of the songs. The rest is just me. You remember our friend Harold, the truck driver? He has an entire CD of original songs you might enjoy. We recorded them all in my basement studio.

Hey,Be sure and video your on-the-lake concert for the rest of us!

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

chubbena
      canada


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Jesus and His followers were "house church" when the priests and Pharisees were in control of the temple.
The churches in Rome were mostly house churches if not all and I doubt any of the churches Paul wrote to were institutional churches.
Their written statement of faith? What written statement?
Not to worry if we actually believe that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by chubbena:
Jesus and His followers were "house church" when the priests and Pharisees were in control of the temple.
The churches in Rome were mostly house churches if not all and I doubt any of the churches Paul wrote to were institutional churches.
Their written statement of faith? What written statement?
Not to worry if we actually believe that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

How about these?

1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

2 Tim 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2 Tim 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2 Tim 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Phil 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Phil 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Phil 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Phil 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Phil 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The last quotation is believed to be a hymn of the early church, but my opinion is that it became a hymn so people could habitually confess their faith in the truth of the Gospel.

In any case, many statements of faith are written throughout the NT.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

chubbena
      canada


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Dan,
Many institutional churches have emphasized much on some Bible verses and have become denominations (separations).

My thought, as I said in my first response - is to use the whole Bible as our written statements.

I know - our generation is so used to fast food and quick fixes. Does anyone take the time to read the fine prints before signing on a contract any more?
The Israelites lived to regret saying yes to follow the Lord; many Jews regretted that they had ever followed Jesus - all because they didn't take time to read (hear) the fine prints (requirements).

Must home churches follow the same path?

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by chubbena:
Dan,
Many institutional churches have emphasized much on some Bible verses and have become denominations (separations).

My thought, as I said in my first response - is to use the whole Bible as our written statements.

I know - our generation is so used to fast food and quick fixes. Does anyone take the time to read the fine prints before signing on a contract any more?
The Israelites lived to regret saying yes to follow the Lord; many Jews regretted that they had ever followed Jesus - all because they didn't take time to read (hear) the fine prints (requirements).

Must home churches follow the same path?

Chubbena,

Thanks for the comment.
Certainly I agree that home churches are not bound to follow the mistakes of the denominations.

Before I posted earlier I should have acknowledged that I realize how statements of faith in many churches have been used to divide in the past. I too have felt resistance to the idea for this and other reasons.

Moving into a smaller group in a home is a chance to make a fresh start, with the Bible as a foundation. BTW, not everyone in HC agrees about the importance of the Bible. Your suggestion would provoke a division with these guys.

But let me make a small point. Jesus said there were weightier matters of the law, such as justice, mercy and faith. He also spoke of the First and great commandment. Hebrews chapter 6 states some of the first principles.

While the whole Bible is important, it would not be wise to focus too long on questions about the giants in Genesis 6 and fail to observe the priority of loving one another. What do you think?

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

benzapped
      Texas


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Dan,

May I respectfully enter into your conversation?

In your reply to Chubbean you mentioned "not everyone in HC agrees about the importance of the Bible. Your suggestion would provoke a division with these guys." After over a half century in IC, I have just left because of that very thing--leadership was ignoring Scripture when it conflicted with their opinions and personal desires. They, by their actions, demonstrated the lack of importance of the Bible. They did what was right in their own minds (Judges 21:25).

As I consider moving towards a HC environment, I was hoping it would have authority of Scripture as bedrock in its beliefs.

Does your comment reflect the position of all HC's?

Thank you,
Ben

--------------------
Baruch haba b'shem Adonai

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Ben,

To be fair, I was the one who entered into your conversation. Thanks for starting this discussion.

No, my comment that some in HC do not agree in the importance of the Bible does not apply to all of us in general. It is mostly on internet forums where we have seen this attitude, and a lot of that is generated by certain paperbacked books.

Gene Edwards, for example was the very first author I found who challenged the traditional patterns, and seemed to write from experience about alternatives. In the third book I read by him, "An Open Letter to House Church Leaders," he wrote disparagingly about prayer and Bible reading.

His case was that the early church was so much better off than us because most of them were illiterate, and if they could read, the Bible was not readily available. He complained that in our day, so few had a genuine experience/relationship with Christ, while these illiterate first century Christians did.

We believe with Jesus and Paul that the early church, whether illiterate or not, knew and needed to learn the Scriptures, if necessary from someone who could read and that they experienced Christ as well.

This is getting long, but sorry to say, not everyone moving to HC are following the Spirit but rather a desire to be free from any kind of authority, including that of the Word of God in the Scriptures.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

chubbena
      canada


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Dan,
In our fellowship (HC) we have come to realize that no one has control over anything – who is coming, who’s not, what to talk about, who’s to decide what’s right et etc. We don’t have a schedule let alone a goal. We just come together every Friday evening (some arrive early, some late) to eat, to read the Bible (we are not even reading the same book most of the time) and to talk until the last one wants to leave – a lot of times way passed midnight. Some days it could be total silence and some lots of talking and yes, fighting over “silly” matters like Gen 6. Oh yes, we “skype” too if one can’t come in person. Doesn’t look like much of a church, does it?
Love one another? We’ve got to. No one else loves us for we are a bunch of weirdoes.

Ben,
As you might see, our little HC has no position....

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My Father speaks to me in OT too and I see Him everyday.

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Chubbena,

Thanks for the short description of your HC. Sounds like anything but boring! Actually I think its neat that you can argue over Gen 6 and still love one another. That kind is rare in my experience.

What does the church look like? I know most of us have an idea of what we think it looks like. I just hope the Lord finds the kind of worship that He is looking for in our gatherings.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by benzapped:


Some folks I talk with seem to view "organization" as being of the Devil. And taken to the extremes it likely is when it comes to church. But could a lack of organization be of the Devil too?...to confuse and cause strife? Organization, at least in my opinion, is a blessing from God--He gave us intelligence and logic as well as all the other gifts. Could not a smidgen of organization be a blessing to a congregation?

Please don’t interpret my reply as argumentative. I am sincerely seeking what is best for God’s Kingdom.

Blessings,
Ben

Ben,

One thing I wanted to mention is that none of us here represent all house churches in general. We can only relate to what we have witnessed in person and read about in sites like this one.

For various reasons people leave the IC, but the beauty is in the freedom to seek the Lord, while rethinking some of their previous practices.

It is almost amusing to hear anti-organization arguments. I have heard people claim that they do not even plan to meet from week to week, only to find out later that they just have a different way of getting around to it.

Then there is the doctrine of "no doctrine," and the order of "no order." What about the law of "no law?"

Since Jesus is the living Head of His Church, He must be capable of getting across His desire for us- IMO.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

chubbena
      canada


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Dan wrote

Sounds like anything but boring! Actually I think its neat that you can argue over Gen 6 and still love one another. That kind is rare in my experience.

What does the church look like? I know most of us have an idea of what we think it looks like. I just hope the Lord finds the kind of worship that He is looking for in our gatherings.

Fact is, some found it boring (reading the Bible every week with no exception) and disorganized (no leader, no one has the final word) and have gone back either to IC or the world. Worse is, we could see it coming. We probably know what to do to keep them form leaving - by not confronting ourselves with the Lord (the Word), by saying soothing things, by other things IC employs. We just don't want to. We are by no means rigid though - some even criticized that we don't look and speak like Christians.
What does the church look like? God knows!

--------------------
My Father speaks to me in OT too and I see Him everyday.

Benoit17
      Edmonton, Canada


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As long as brothers and sisters go on meeting while remaining independent from one another's survival in our pilgrimage on earth, as the foreigners and strangers to the world that we are individually by the Holy Spirit, then "Church", as God means It, has yet to become real, assembled and alive, as opposed to being simply another splinter of the nothingness that calls itself of God...

-- Please Father in heaven, guide us to Your assembling of us and of our lives on earth with one another, so that we learn and complete each other by depending completely on You in our service to one another, as Acts chapters 1 to 7 demonstrate...In Christ-Jesus I pray...Amen to Your Yes in us all...

--------------------
...all blessings be with us all...
Benoit Couture

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Chubbena wrote:

"Fact is, some found it boring (reading the Bible every week with no exception) and disorganized (no leader, no one has the final word) and have gone back either to IC or the world. Worse is, we could see it coming."

Benoit wrote:

As long as brothers and sisters go on meeting while remaining independent from one another's survival in our pilgrimage on earth, as the foreigners and strangers to the world that we are individually by the Holy Spirit, then "Church", as God means It, has yet to become real, assembled and alive, as opposed to being simply another splinter of the nothingness that calls itself of God..."

Maybe so many people have come to expect so many things that are not portrayed in the Scripture that they fail to look for the true signs of a NT church. In any case, I really don't know how to change the situation.

Some perhaps have too low a view of the Church as the Body of Christ. I for one do not feel independent from the family of believers for my survival. But if God can deal with us of our need for genuine fellowship, certainly He can and will fulfill His purpose for His Church by changing others as well.

--------------------
Dan Beaty
Columbus, Ohio
www.livingtruth.com

chubbena
      canada


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God knows how much I needed fellowship, how much I missed those walked out the door to the world. Nothing, absolutely nothing I can do but to get down on my knees and wait. I see Him working but a lot of times not the way I like. Last week my patience was tested to the limit. Discussion was turned into character attack. Some wondered why I didn't fight back. God comforted me with 1 Cor 4 - I flipped the Bible and there it was. This week a gift comes to our midst, a guy who wants to know the Lord. Bitter and sweet.
D Anderson
      Bristol, TN USA


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Brother C, this is all out warfare is it not?

May the Lord direct your steps and bring you a likeminded companion(s).

Prayers ascending tonight.

Oh Lord, help us right now. Amen.

k_dianel
      Florida


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Trusting God 100% will really help you get thru these days.
benzapped
      Texas


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I sincerely appreciate all the replies. I have read lots of material the past 6 weeks regarding institutional and house churches. I can now see that statements of faith are not really necessary for the house church I want to be a part of. If Jesus accepts someone, then so should I. Where we differ, we will just have to differ...in love.

Ben

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Baruch haba b'shem Adonai

JeanneH
      Superior Colorado


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Thanks so much for keeping us up with how the Spirit is leading you! Your viewpoint is one of love and grace- very cool!

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Jeanne

chubbena
      canada


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D and K....and Dan,
I felt obliged to reply but our group has been going through turmoil these days and nothing good to boot.
I believe it's a cleansing process we must go through before we have true faith in the Lord. We've talked about it much but rarely exercised it - until now. And the other side is working hard to discourage - by showing us how smooth the life of our non-believer and church-goer friends is and how care free they are.
Well, it's not as if we have to starve or anything. It's just, like I said before, not the kind of bread we prefer.
Good news -
1. Our "skype" brother is coming home from afar - probably giving up a nice career to join us. He'll be heartbroken to see what's going on though.
2. A brother’s girl friend, who has been a road block, has joined us a few weeks ago and has shown more zeal than our brother.
Always something to keep us going! Praise the Lord!

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My Father speaks to me in OT too and I see Him everyday.

Dan Beaty
      Columbus, Ohio


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Originally posted by chubbena:
D and K....and Dan,
I felt obliged to reply but our group has been going through turmoil these days and nothing good to boot.
I believe it's a cleansing process we must go through before we have true faith in the Lord.

Just wanted to add that your experiences, though different, are still similar to what many of us have or are experiencing in our journey. I am so glad to know that Our Lord Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, and also to hear that you are getting encouraging new also.

Keep on keeping on!

Dan

   

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