House Church Talk - Re: The Local Church

Paul Cox paulcox2 at
Sun Sep 28 11:54:18 EDT 2003

Brother Jim, 

If there is one thing that we must all remember about The Lord, is that
He is sovereign.  Concerning his sovereignty there is verse in the Old
Testament, I don't have time to look it up right now, that says God does
just what He wants to do.  The things that we see in the Word, such as
those mentioned by Bruce, should serve as guidelines and admonitions to
us.  I agree that to make dogma of them would be a bad thing.  But is
equally true that to ignore some of these things sometimes causes us
miss the greatest blessing - blessing of course being defined as what
makes God AND man happy, not just man.

One example is the matter of a single pastor.  The Word does not tell us
that an assembly should not have ONE pastor (shepherd).  But I think it
is pretty clear from the Word that there were no lone shepherds leading
the local assemblies in the New Testament.  One might make the case that
James was such at Jerusalem.  But Paul's writings to the Galatians
churches makes it clear that what came from James at Jerusalem was not a
good thing. 

The lone shepherd leadership was the first degradation brought in by
some who, even though they had been directly under the teaching of the
apostles who had walked the earth with the Lord Jesus, failed to escape
this pitfall.  The tradition is so old that it seems the ONLY early
recorded history of churches with multiple shepherds is the New
Testament writings themselves.  These writings didn't come together AS
the "New Testament", until long after the tradition of one pastor had
been well established.  Now it seems that the norm is to have one
pastor.  Does the Lord move through a one-pastor system?  Certainly He
does!  If He has no other way, will he refuse to use a one-pastor
system?  No, He will not!  Can individual Christians become overcomers
in churches that have succumb to the traditions of man?  Revelations 2
and 3 make it clear to us that the answer is, yes!

The question we should ask ourselves is can the Lord have more room to
move freely in a situation where we have set aside the traditions of man
and instead consider the principles laid down in the New Testament?  Are
we willing to let His house be His house without our own preferences?
But yours is a much needed warning.  Even these things, if considered as
dogma, can become the very things which hinder the Lord's move among us.
That is why, above and beyond all this, it is most important that we
abide in the Vine.  Without that living daily intimate abiding, then all
the principles in the New Testament become nothing more than methods and
ways to help us have the "right church".  Got enough of them already.

Your brother
Paul Cox

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Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2003 8:57 AM
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Subject: House Church Talk -  Re: The Local Church

Bruce Woodford wrote in part: 
> The Lord Jesus set the pattern in Mark 6:7 and Luke 10:1.  Whenever
> apostles failed to obey and went alone, they NEVER saw churches 
>    See Peter alone at Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9). Some were healed,
> from the dead and some saved. But we never read of a church in either
> these places. See Paul alone on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17). People
> saved, but we never read of a church at Athens.

Hi, Bruce.

While I appreciate your observations of how the Lord often used two or
brothers to start churches, I think we would be silly and overly
dogmatic to 
go so far as to say that Acts is showing us how the apostles "failed to
and went alone..."

We should not stoop to being so carried away with an idea as to start
that idea back into the Scriptures.  If Scripture does not say that the 
apostles "failed to obey" in going here or in doing that, then we should

constrain our desire to jump to that conclusion.

The Acts show us God at work in and through the apostles and other
who trusted Him.  Let's give the Lord some credit for knowing how to
and build His own church.

Whenever God is telling His own story thru the Scriptures may all
and dogma remain seated and silent before Him.

Amen, Bro. Bruce?

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