House Church Talk - Re: House Church Talk Digest, Vol 3, Issue 112

Claire Bennett clairebnntt at
Sun Apr 18 14:12:07 EDT 2004

A conference I would love to attend would be a relational Christianity
conference.  I see something like this as open to all hc, ic, loners, etc.
It would make sense, just based on logic, to demonstrate rather than talk
about the principles we are practicing.  You're right, an hc conference
should have hc-style meetings, especially for those who haven't seen what it
is like to learn and ask questions - opportunity for trying things out and
not fearing to fail.

I was told by others that at previous conferences the unspoken rule appeared
to be no actually hc meetings were to occur at this hc conference.  Some
told me that singing was also verboten.  A group spontaneously began to
sing, and some of the "leaders" who were talking amongst themselves began to
talk louder in an attempt to drown them out.  I was told that a man, sharing
that he believed women should be sharing and active in the hc meeting
shouted down by a women who insisted they should be silent in the church and
not usurp male authority.  That sounds comical to me, as the women doing the
shouting down was speaking in the church and usurping the authority of this
man. :)

Regarding the theological beliefs of people on the wineskin list, I cannot
speak for them.  All I know is that in their introduction to the list it is
stated that no hierarchal views may be promoted there and women were to be
treated equally.  Anyone was free to hold any views they wished, but this
was not the place to straighten everyone out.

A person shared with me that cults promote idolatry, in that they take the
focus of relationship and devotion away from Jesus and turn it to the cult
leader(s).  A well-functioning, well-oiled machine is attractive.  I just
look at the scriptures and see that the believers waited for the empowerment
of the Holy Spirit.  Then they were sent out.  No organizations, no funding
letters, no man-created system.  Notice they didn't try to build political
relationships with sympathetic members of the Roman elite in order to
moralize the empire.

I am concerned that some go to meetings like this and come back with a yoke
for their hc; this works well if that individual has a forceful personality.
Of course the yokers will be able to identify those who agree with their
agenda, or are willing targets for indoctrination to be a part of the growth
and spreading of this system.

We need people gifted in the area of administration and organization in the
body.  I would encourage those with this ministry to serve in that capacity.
But I don't want them ruling over us.  In the same way I hope that those
gifted in mercy and discernment offer their gifts freely to the hurting in
the body, rather than setting themselves up as paid, professional

Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun.  To those of you who were
around when the heavy shepherding movement took over in the 80's, or who
have crossed paths with authoritarian-style cell groups or house churches, you
understand "that which has been, is that which shall be...vanity of

So why do I do this?  Some have asked why I am so negative and critical
about various "leaders," "teachers,"  "teachings," "men and women of God?"
Someone asked what right I had to scrutinize the donkey carrying Jesus.
Well, I am not so certain that the donkey is carrying Jesus.  I believe that
just as conumers have Ralph Nader and David Horowitz, there is a need for
some sort of consumer protection for consumers in the Christian marketplace.
Teachers incur the stricter judgement; a person who's teachings are
influencing others needs those teachings to be well scrutinized to protect
the young from spoiled milk and contaminated meat.  A case of spiritual "mad
cow" does not look pretty.  The watchmen looks and listens for predators and
danger to the flock.  He/she is not waiting for the Domino's pizza delivery

Most of you have probably seen the film "Passion."  Somehow, I can imagine
the hooded satan charcter silently and gleefully sowing his seeds among the
newly freed.  He is doing it now.
----- Original Message ----- 
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To: <House Church Talk  at>
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 9:00 AM
Subject: House Church Talk  Digest, Vol 3, Issue 112

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>    1. conferences/agendas/our freedom (Claire Bennett)
>    2. Re: conferences/agendas/our freedom (cliffsilliman at
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 11:38:00 -0700
> From: "Claire Bennett" <clairebnntt at>
> Subject: House Church Talk -  conferences/agendas/our freedom
> To: <House Church Talk  at>
> Message-ID: <014701c424ab$1d567770$0301a8c0 at selfxfdobitvdd>
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> I knew I'd be sticking my neck out here.  I have no experience with past
conferences, but it appears there is an agenda here, to seek control over
the house churches that the Lord has planted, to exchange organic body life and
connection to the head of the body, Jesus, with a hierarchal system that
they control.  It reminds me of how the Florida 5 heavy shepherding movement
took over the many independent churches that sprang up during the Jesus
movement.  They offered them organization, accountability, teaching - but
the end result was a yoke of bondage, much abuse and much destruction.
> We have seen cult-like house churches and I see that an authoritarian, hierarchal IC
style leadership is far more dangerous in the hc than it is in the IC, due
to the hidden nature of house churches.  I am not impugning these men's intentions,
they want to straighten us out and get us all behaving in a way that they
deem scriptural.  But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  We
don't appear to learn from history.  I see the hc much like this child's
rhyme, "When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she
was horrid.
> A lively discussion is taking place about this on New-Wineskins; I felt it
was safe to share there as they strongly support non-hierarchal views and
equality of women.  I have learned that these organizers believe women
should keep silent, believe in hierarchal leadership, and only homeschoolers
are allowed to be in this authoritarian leadership (the elitist
hc/homeschool/ nexus) and now they want to have their work funded.  I
suggest they take their cue from others, which may already have occured, and
promise the religious right large families full of Republican voters in
return for support.
> I believe the hidden agenda here is not honest.  They may be able to deal
with people from all backgrounds in order to indoctrinate some.  I have
received some e-mails from people who see similiar things and have
enlightened me on past examples of what they see as traps set to ensnare the
body, tear it out from its roots.  So, I guess I am trap shy.  I feel I am
sticking my neck out here, as there are many who would consider it unloving
to point out dangers, especially to the young and weak.  So, I hope the
several people who have written me privately will share their thoughts on
the board and I hope no one will attack them as "divisive" or "unloving."
If this sort of thing is allowed to take over the house churches, we will all be
attacked as "rebellious," unsubmissive," "covenant breakers," - I think you
know the story.From bwood4d at Sat Apr 17 21:18:05 2004
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> From: "Bruce Woodford" <bwood4d at>
> To: House Church Talk  at
> Subject: RE: House Church Talk -  conferences/agendas/our freedom
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> Hi Claire,
> I too have often wondered about "house church conferences" which do not
> function by house church principles.  What would we think of a house
> that had pre-appointed speakers who addressed  "plenary sessions"?  How
> would house church look with "break out sessions" on pre-determined
> Can you imagine an IC conference in a living room where church members
> free to express what they were learning from scripture about the lack of
> clergy/laity distinctions, to discuss how they could exhort one another
> they assembled together, or  how to break bread in remembrance of the Lord
> without an ordained clergyman officiating???
> If you would not expect an IC conference to function according to hc
> principles, why should we expect a hc conference to function by IC
> principles????
> Do we find any scriptural examples of apostolic or first century "house
> church conferences", invited/appointed speakers,  predetermined ministry
> topics etc???
> On another topic addressed in your post, you spoke of a discussion on New
> Wineskins where they believe in "the equality of women".  Can you explain
> what is meant by the term?  To what or whom do they believe women are
> "equal"?   What scriptures would teach "the equality of women"?
> Do folks there believe in "the equality of men"? the equality of children?
> If so, to what or to whom are THEY equal?  Do the scriptures actually
> that ANYBODY is equal?
> Does equality mean having the same abilities, functions, talents, gifts,
> appearance, responsibilities, ministries?  Are any two members of a body
> EQUAL??  Or are they all COMPLEMENTARY?  Are not believers INCOMPLETE
> without other members to which God has joined them because all are
> NECESSARY?  If one is complementary and necessary to others and incomplete
> without the others, how can they possibly be equal to the others???
> On a car, is a wheel rim equal to the tire? Can either function properly
> without the other?
> In a bread recipe, is the flour equal to the yeast?  In a marriage, is the
> wife equal to the husband?  In a church, are women (or men) really equal
> all??
> I'm baffled! Can you help me??
> Your brother in Christ,
> Bruce
> _________________________________________________________________
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> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 21:01:17 -0700
> From: cliffsilliman at
> Subject: Re: House Church Talk -  conferences/agendas/our freedom
> To: House Church Talk  at
> Message-ID: <20040417.211007.3720.1.cliffsilliman at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Hi Claire,
> I can only speak from what I have experienced. I only know personally
> Jonathan Lindvall of the men who are speakers. Jonathan does not even
> control the hc that he meets with. We fellowshiped in the same hc with
> him for almost 3 years and visiters who did not know him from home
> schooling circles would have no idea that he was anyone different than
> anyone else there. Because he was no one different by his own teaching
> and practice than any one else. He spent his time while we were there
> from Oct. 96 to August 99 working to have others speak and lead. He took
> the lower place at every opportunity. He also was protective when false
> teachers came by in a gentle way with compassion.
> He is passionate about scripture, and what it says that we do not want to
> hear, even things that he does not like to hear, so that we can be
> responders to God. Scripture says this how should we respond is the
> context of much what he teaches. If it offends so be it since it is the
> Word of God, is an attitude that comes forth in his teaching at times.
> Jonathan new coming in that there were issues that we did not see the
> same way, but he enjoyed walking along side of us while we were there as
> we did with him.
> Cliff
> Cliff Silliman <cliffsilliman at>
> 1 Corinthians 14:15
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