Jesus is Lord of all things.
Especially church.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We take captive every thought to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10

I embrace the ancient creeds and the scriptures as a disciple of Jesus. I am probably not as focused on "the simplicity" of discipleship as is popular today. Discipleship was comparable to the modern concept of graduate school. It was the institution at the time of Jesus that dealt with training in the most complex roles in society. Jesus did describe in detail in his teaching important ways that his disciples would be unique but he did not change the nature of the institution. The simplest way to understand the scriptures and creeds is to LOOK AT THE Scriptures and the creeds through the lens of what Jesus taught and from the perspective of being filled (continually and increasingly) with the Holy Spirit. This is what the expectation is for a disciple. When the New Testament was being developed the culture was an oral culture. This means that most of the people that it was intended to reach could not read,thus Paul's emphasis on public reading of his letters and scripture (Septuagint). This doesn't mean that the people were ignorant. Oral cultures are quite remarkable in the abilities that the people develop in passing down stories and teaching accurately. Jesus's style of teaching and use of parables was extremely learnable to these people. The early disciples were completely immersed in the teaching of our Lord Jesus first and foremost. They looked at the rest of the scriptures and creeds through the lens of what Jesus taught. Today in the western church this has been subtilty turned around and most Protestants actually tend to try to understand the teachings of Jesus through the writings of Paul. Think about it we use "the Roman Road" to start off new believers not the teachings of Jesus on counting the cost or hearing his voice as his sheep. This is a difficult time for many to understand this. I came to the Lord as a Jesus Freek we understood that the teachings of Jesus were radical and counterculture. Today there is a strong temptation to take part in the culture war. You can't fight the culture war and embrace the counterculture teachings of Jesus. That is why John teaches us to love not the world or the things in the world.

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We regret to see another once-respected, so-called church leader hurt others and to embarrass himself upon the world's stage. 

Across the internet, we'll be reading many comments in sympathy with him and his victims. And the sad church which he was involved.

There is however another party who is seldom mentioned. That party is the Almighty God. As you can see, He is also quite concerned about his own reputational damage. In fact, one of his names is: Jealous.

2 Sam. 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme - the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

I am posting this photo as a reminder not to judge by appearance. A pretty face can hide a diabolical heart.

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Hello all, just to let you know that this informal, non-profit network of Christians now has 775 members since we changed to the new site format. We don't pay much attention to the numbers but rather getting the truth out.

Wow, most are here to learn from others and never post. So, you with experience or knowledge, please step forward. :)

To view the latest members, just scroll to the bottom of the home page. Of course, there are those who join but have yet to create a profile.

These are uncertain times. Please consider your role in the days ahead. You are a servant (deacon) of the Most High and appointed to serve others in his Name. Pray to the Almighty for wisdom and strength. Amen.

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Thank you, dear sister for the exciting report regarding your meeting. And for your analysis concerning several topics. And thank your joining in the ongoing discussions!

Yes, the Western brand of individualism prohibits the outworking of family principles and fellowship with the body of Christ. In fact, it's the opposite of the mutual love we we must show to the saints and to the world beyond the church.

Jesus came not to be served but to serve. And to give his life a ransom for many.

Somehow, we must identify this problem and turn it around for God's glory and for the good of mankind. But how? Only by the Spirit of God. Because this generation is defined by three words: Me, my, and mine.

Btw, I've noticed that most Asian people would never send their parents away to a nursing home, whether here or in the native land.

I recently heard about two Hispanic brothers who donated large sums of money so that their sister could receive higher education. Wow!

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Oh this topic is one that's been troubling me because how can we read the scriptures and not understand that we are grafted in and born a 2nd time? So Jesus says fulfil the royal law.If we love God we obey him and do what pleases him.If we love our neighbors we work no harm to them. How does this look in my life? Someone told me that they were really struggling and searching but all churches do is meet certain days and not interact Monday thru Friday .People need family but they're being told to stand alone. We don't know how to have relationships. Noone is taught how to judge a matter or bring reconciliation. We aren't known by our love. Scripture is treated like poetic suggestions rather than commands and way of life.Are hearts changed? I don't want to face God with an evil report. He said only the doers of what he says will be justified. I believe you Lord.Help us and deliver us from all unrighteousness. You can start in me..

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I took this clip over the weekend in the Atlanta area where we have just moved to. Most of these saints are part of other churches but their home meetings are completely independent.

I was surprised that their attention span greatly exceeds what I was used to. The meetings go on for 3-4 hours. I was also amused by the large quantities of food they enjoyed.

Anyway, I sometimes wonder if fellowship meals such as this better represent the true meaning of what has become the modern "Lord's Supper". This is a real meal where hunger and thirst are truly relieved and the body strengthened.

The Corinthian church had problems in this area but the solution set forth by the apostle was not to reduce their supper to a ceremonial micro-meal.

In the same letter he wrote: Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it with God in mind.

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Hi Nina, welcome to the conversation! It's always good to hear from those who, like us, worship Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please don't let the fact that you are new prevent your from joining in or starting a new thread. If you have something that you want to say but aren't sure that it's relevant to someone else's post, just click the plus sign ("+") in the upper right corner of the page and click "Discussion" in the dropdown. Give your new discussion thread a topic and select a category, then write what's on your mind. Please keep in mind that the subject matter that you post should be relevant to the Christian faith and for the edification of God's people. We look forward to your comments and questions. Lord willing, we'll find fellowship together as the Body of Christ

As for your comments about the Lord's Supper (Communion), I personally feel like this is perhaps the biggest struggle and failing of the church today. Our inability to take this simple act seriously highlights the depth of our sin. Scripture commands us to be unified (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:10), but more often the Lord's Supper is used as a weapon against other Christians rather than a uniting moment. My experience is that the vast number of institutional churches (Protestants, Catholic, and Orthodox alike - the church on the corner) place requirements on their fellow believers before they are welcome at Communion. In some churches, this means that you are a card-carrying member of their church or denomination, or perhaps a member of another approved denomination. It's not uncommon for the most conservative of churches to require that you have been catechized by their leaders, or that you at least present yourself to their elders prior to partaking. Rare is the church that welcomes all believers according to the words of 1 Cor 11:28, "Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup". Nowhere in Scripture am I able to find the idea of a "screening committee" to approve of our fellow believer prior to joining the assembly in worship of Christ at the Lord's Table. God's grace demands that we allow any penitent sinner to approach God before His people for restoration. After all, isn't that the whole point of Communion?

My prayer for you is that you find the resources that you are looking for at your home in Florida. There are some resources available to help you look if you need them, though depending on where you live you may have some difficulty finding like-minded believers. I would encourage you to look, however, and return to forums like this where you can be nourished in your relationship with God in Christ. For myself personally, I find a lot more challenge to be found online where my faith comes from person-to-person discussion rather than sitting in a pew listening to a lecture and taking a long Sunday afternoon nap

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I'm new so I don't know if I'm posting in the correct place etc but I want to know if anyone meets in Florida and I want to understand why Noone is interested in keeping The Lord's supper among many other commands and ways of Jesus and the early church.?

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What a lovely account ! She instructed her children and shared the good news with her neighbors. What does this look like in my life ? It's crucial to have sound doctrine and a Godly walk .At what point are we leaning toward teaching ? I meet people claiming we should be street preachers or walk up to people to witness. This is a subject that presses myself and others I know.

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Can anyone think of a song or hymn ending in "Christ living in me"? A very cool song.

These words are not exact otherwise I could locate it. We sang it growing up. Now it's in my head but I cannot find the words.

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This is a great summary and easy to remember. I couldn't agree with this more.

One of the things that I love about meeting with God's assembled people is the sense that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). Whether I'm sitting in a church pew or posting online, when I'm among the body of believers then I'm just plain old Todd. I'm not a manager for my company, or the breadwinner of my family, or an investor in the stock market, or a responsible citizen of my community. All of those things are set aside in deference to worshiping our Lord and Savior. And then these words from Matt 6:31-33 take root...

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Although I am still relatively new to the Christian life outside of the institutional church, I find a new freedom in my new environment. But the freedom isn't freedom *FROM* the church, but rather freedom *TO* believe as God reveals Himself in the Bible. I find it interesting that when you reject denominationalism on the grounds that it divides the church, its defenders will most certainly cry out, "how then do we control against heresy from entering the church?" My belief is that the heresy has already entered the church in the form of church control. Scripture can't be more clear about the importance of unity between ALL believers, not just those who belong to a particular church or denomination. There is a great lack of trust that these Christians have in God's ability to preserve His church. I'm not suggesting that teaching and discipleship are not important. They are. What I'm saying is that as soon as you start believing that YOUR ACTIONS are what keeps the church pure then you've missed a key point of the Christian faith. It is God who reveals. It is God who preserves. It is God who guides our hearts. He is active in our faith.

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“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

— Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate

Or limiting the summary of Church history to a single sentence, oversimplified of course:

"Christianity, originally a brotherhood of co-equals, became a hierarchy and has yet to fully recover."

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Thank you, David, for your concern for my condition. I can't tell you how much it means to me that I have heard from so many good friends like yourself these last few months, all wanting to help out where they can. God has been gracious beyond measure throughout my life, and especially more so now with these new challenges that I face with my family. I am grateful to have a loving wife who makes my meals and takes me to innumerable doctor's appointments. Her care and patience are truly inspiring. And so far as any financial needs are concerned, those have all been covered by insurance through my work, so we have no outstanding expenses. There once was a time quite long ago when this wasn't the case, so I know firsthand how much such kindness can mean in difficult times. If anyone wants to help, I would ask this favor... if you or a loved one has not had a routine physical exam recently then please go see a doctor as soon as you are able. Had I done the same, I would have learned that I have diabetes which could have been corrected prior to my infection getting out of control.

I am so grateful to God for His provision in my life. That includes this community. Despite what happens in this life, we are completely lost without our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Praise God for that!

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Hello dear brother. Thank you for the encouraging words wide and experience - especially amidst your own difficulties. Obviously your faith is strong, as is your reliance upon the Almighty.

Sadly, many become bitter or even angry with God when something like this occurs.

Your new and ongoing situation will require major adjustments. Everyone, please lift up our brother and his loved ones in your daily prayers.

Todd, will you contact me privately on this site? Please provide me with your PayPal or Amazon address. I'll act as a go-between for those desiring to help, rather than share your personal information online.

David Anderson, serving as Administrator.

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I find that there's a real balance to be struck that your average Christian does not understand, which is really too bad since Scripture cries out that we seek it. Jesus came first and foremost to heal us spiritually, but in the same way God does not leave us to fend for ourselves physically. Matt 6:25-32 tells us not to be anxious about anything because God loves us more than the birds of the air and lilies of the field, yet ends with with verse 33 which is near and dear to many of us here... "But seek first the reign of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Both the spiritual and physical are important to God

While I agree with the author about churches obsessing on the mechanics of church, I would disagree with the statement that, "It was largely about spiritual salvation and growth, praying for people, and religious codes of conduct." As I have lamented previously on this website, what many might call "spiritual salvation and growth" is much more cultural in nature than it is Christian. There is a set of standards and behaviors that Christians are expected to adhere to, which look frighteningly similar to Western cultural values. I've often struggled to find Christians who want to talk about sin and salvation, which is core to our Christian faith. I guess that I've never been one to believe that obsessing over making the worship service perfect was a great use of time

Yet I also have to wonder about churches that take the opposite approach and dedicate themselves to only providing for the physical needs of the community in which they live. Here where I live near Seattle, churches are big into taking care of the homeless, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. It would be difficult from a spiritual perspective to call them churches as they focus on very little in Scripture other than Christ's command to feed the poor

Where I think the lack of balance comes into play in this whole equation is in our collective lack of understanding that our physical infirmities can be directly tied to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. I recently spent 16 days in the hospital in which I had my right foot amputated due to a severe foot infection. Nothing could have made a better statement to me of the effects of sin than those two weeks. It's not as though God was punishing me for specific sins as some might believe. But I couldn't escape the fact that we all live in a fallen world, and that only by the grace of God that any of us has hope for the future. An eternal future full of the grace of our beloved Savior

I guess my point is that there is a middle ground in all of this. To focus solely on the spiritual is to miss the point of God's daily mercies in our everyday existences. Watching a limb rot away before your eyes as I recently did is a sobering reminder of the fragility of our lives here on Earth. We need God to survive. But to say that all of the ills that we face will be somehow cured with a clean pair of socks and a hot meal is to miss the point as well. As the human race, we are where we are today because of sin, and to help someone in need without sharing the hope that God has placed in us for the future is missing the point when it comes to the Christian life

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Here is a recent arrangement of the Lord's Prayer set to music. I hope you all enjoy it!

https://livingtruth.com/our-father-in-heaven/

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Great point!

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As for church leaders who become turf-protecting bureaucrats, I would be the first to point this out for immediate adjustment.

But sadly, for every power-grabbing church leader, there are dozens of others who are more than willing to give up their own responsibilities and privileges. There is plenty of blame on both sides.

On the other hand and in the other extreme, there are those who insist that the whole concept of human leadership in the church is of little concern at all. Thus: "A Dramatic lack of Attention..."

Really? Well pray tell me, whey did Paul and Barnabus when they had ordained them elders in EVERY church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

If this was no big deal, why the PRAYER and FASTING? And why the prominent mention of this ongoing activity in EVERY city and church? See Acts 14:23.

Human leadership is indeed complementary with divine leadership in a home or in a church. 1 Peter 5:4: And when the chief Shepherd (divine) appears, you (human shepherds) will receive the unfading crown of glory. 

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We do not encourage political topics on this site because that is not our goal. Besides, there are many other sites for such a purpose. Nor is it to suggest that these matters are unimportant. They surely are.

Lately, everywhere we turn - there is a tragic loss of the freedom of speech as well as massive hate mongering toward the people of Israel. We do not want to see this for any ethic group.

On a minor point, it should appear obvious that house churches are the only and beset option for many in the mid East.

What I want us to be reminded of today is how colleges and universities which were founded by Christians eventually lost sight of their stated purposes.

Truly, the Enemy has come to steal and kill and destroy. Whereas the Son of God came to give life and joy unspeakable.

Brothers and sisters, let us bow in prayer...

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It took 25 years to find it, then it vanished, writes blogger Micheal Camp.

More times than not, in my evangelical experience, the average church is all about promoting and providing the following: a statement of faith, worship, church bands or choirs, sermons, communion, Bible studies, teaching on acceptable lifestyles, prayer meetings and ministry, youth groups, Sunday school, pre-marital counseling, evangelistic outreach, baptisms, support for overseas missions, fellowship (potlucks and picnics), and conducting funerals. With some exceptions, these churches rarely had ministries that actually provided practical care for people’s physical, emotional, or mental health. It was largely about spiritual salvation and growth, praying for people, and religious codes of conduct.
In my 25 plus years in evangelicalism, I only went to one church that actually had a ministry to the poor. Granted, there were some individuals who did in a couple churches. And in my overseas mission work we did relief and development projects for the impoverished, but these were exceptions. This one ministry in a church had a great program done once a year called Day of Hope. Church members and even non-members volunteered to extend free services to the poor in the community on this one day (anything from providing goods to dental care). Both recipients and volunteers loved it.
The problem was, after the church did it a few years, they dropped the whole program. They were too busy doing the other things to have time for it. In some evangelical churches, people would occasionally help out at a local soup kitchen for the homeless or visit prisoners, but this was not part of the heart of the church.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/thespiritualbrewpub/author/mcamp/

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yes

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Is this his youtube channel? with these... videos?

https://www.youtube.com/@williamgetumbe/videos

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There seem to be more theorists than practitioners in our movement. David is both. He's what we would call a missions strategist. He wakes up every day desiring that more people would somehow meet their Saviour. Then he attempts to execute a good plan.

David earned a bachelors, 2 Masters and a Ph.D. degrees. He's used these academic credentials to write 4 books, edit 4 and contribute more than a hundred articles and papers in various journals and books since 1983.

His latest writings are in community development, Christian theology, Asian cultures and inter-religious relations.

He's presently the President of Asian School of Development and Crosscultural Studies (ASDECS), based in Manila, Philippines, with branches and partners in 12 countries in the world.

By his kind permission we offer this important essay. Other papers can be found at https://asdecs.academia.edu/DavidLim.

As always, members who are logged in can download a copy for their own library. Others can read the entire essay right here.

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Service is essential. Our Lord taught that if we would be great in his Kingdom, we must become servants. It's the same word in the original as deacons, by the way.

Discernment is required. It's easy to think we are serving but we may actually be enabling a destructive course.

Look at all the self-seeking politicians who consider themselves as "public servants", for another example.

Paul wrote of those who could perform great acts - yet had not love.

From the mighty pen of CS Lewis:

An Epitaph

Erected by her sorrowing brothers

In memory of Martha Clay.

Here lies one who lived for others;

Now she has peace. And so have they.

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Hello readers. Hello brothers. Yes, actions without a sincere heart are worse than no actions. As the Lord said through Isaiah the prophet: Who hath required all this religious activity of you? I am weary of it. Is 1:12.

And using religion of any kind to gain control over others is just wrong. Yet it happens as we speak.

The church, which is composed of Christians, was supposed to be the salt of the earth. Light of world and a city on hill which could not be hid. They were to have influence for the glory of God's name and for his Kingdom on earth. Not their own selfish interests, of course.

If they failed, better to have been cast aside as worthless salt which lost it savor.

Jesus was supposed to have been the Lord of all life and learning. Every sphere, public or private, visible or invisible belonged to Him. In ALL things, including family, church, and civil government, he was to have the pre-eminence. In fact, the civil leaders are called his servants or "deacons".

If the church is occupied with entertainment or using God to become rich or using him merely to pursue well-adjusted private lives, with little or no interest in HIS mission - they indeed deserve to be ignored and to have their influence be further diminished, even thrown out.

While others are circling the wagons, running for the exists, and retreating on every front, every day I will continue to pray: Your Kingdom come, your will be done. ON EARTH as it is in heaven. For myself, I will lock arms with any Christian seeking God's will. Their opinion of the "house church movement" is not very important to me.

Personally, I do not believe that the "good old days" were all that good in many ways. So I am pressing on, praying for better days ahead and an outpouring his Spirit. As people are (voluntarily, not legislatively) changed, one by one, society, culture, and community standards will invariably also be improved.

Magazine covers such as this are based on math. The story-line is always about percentages. For me, I want to see the number of true Christians increase.

Please join me at the throne and let us pray for true conversions and true revival. God's mission is not to condemn the world but that the world through his Son might be saved. The end effect will be a vast multitude which none can number from every tribe, nation and language.

I pray that every Christian will realize that they are a co-equal minister in order to serve others. And that the church, at last, will become the servant church. Committed to charity rather than being a charity, itself. Only then, can a nation or a culture truly be transformed.

"Behold I make ALL things new" ~ Jesus Christ.

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With no offense intended to you or your question, when people speak of "turning things around", I lose interest very quickly. I think that's because I look back over the last 60 years of my life in the church and wonder if there was ever a time when things were "good". That's not to say that there weren't a lot of good things that came out of my church experience, and for those things I am grateful to God for providing them. Yet I also see how much baggage comes with the Christian experience, and it's a lot. Perhaps the House Church movement hasn't always executed well in delivering the Christian experience either, but it does have one extremely good instict, which is to cut out all of the extra nonsense that the institutional church today delivers in spades. Prior to the Protestant Reformation in 1517, the church had a lock on being the middleman between God and man. The Reformation was supposed to end this practice. But look at the large percentage of Protestant churches today that effectively browbeats their parishoners into believing that the church is the key to the pathway to God. In these churches, Christ can no longer be called its Head. Instead, the whims of its leaders and the rules that it holds fast to are what define the church.

But this is not God's plan for His church. Consider, for example, Jesus' teaching on adultery from Matt 5:27-28...

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart

In other words, it's not just your actions that God is concerned with, but also what's in your heart. This theme runs throughout Scripture. So why then does the church attempt to write rulebook after rulebook of dictates that a Christian must obey to be in right standing before God? And why does it teach that the blood and sacrifice of Christ are there just to fill in the gaps when we (occasionally) sin? Have we learned nothing from Scripture (Psalm 51:1-6)?

Have mercy on me, O God,
  according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
  blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
  and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
  and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
  and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
  and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
  and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
  and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

So if you ask me, "would you like to go back to church the way that it was before?", I would have to ask you what you mean by that. Like most people, I would welcome returning to a time when crime in the streets was less prevalent and public discourse was more respectful. But does this mean that we'd be a "Christian nation"? Far from it. Just because we'd clean up our language or dress up in a suit and tie for the occasional trip to church would mean nothing. As Christians, we need to show the world that we take our sin seriously and recognize that it is only by Christ's merit that we are saved from them. "Living your best life today", a phrase common with many Christians, does not mean that you leave your wife and family because they are harshing your mellow. Nor does it mean that you cheat on your taxes, even if it's to help you pay for Christian school for your kids. It means that you consistently confess to God just how weak you are to do His will, then rest assured that God is "6 merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Ex 34:6-7)

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David, Certainly, with God's help we can all do better. We could start with humility and searching our own hearts. This morning I read this quote on social media:

”Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.“

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9‬:‭17‬-‭18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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Many years ago there was a contraversial Newsweek magazine cover: Is God Dead?

This one is not recent but it still concerns us. Our hope is in God and in his Son who has promised to build his church despite all opposition.

But, can the church not do better?

Three words come to mind: Adapt or die.

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What a plan! Self-supporting, professional, Christian workers showing up to... work. Rather than arriving with their bags and seminary certificates and expecting to become religious local professionals. This is not to suggest that a seminary degree isn't a useful thing. All learning is of value just as surely as all truth is from the Almighty,

I'm reminded of how the Apostle Paul found fellowship with those of the same employment and craft. And our Lord, too, of whom it was asked: Is this not the carpenter?

Accordingly, David Aikman envisions “thousands of Chinese technicians and workers”, wearing the disguise of the professional workers of the Chinese led global system of economic development. Their disguise is their non-western physicality, presumably indicating a lack of ideological and religious agenda but in reality concealing the fact that they are the representatives of an international effort to spiritually transform the societies they encounter.
The Islamic world… will no longer be able to resort to the usual complaints about the ‘decedent west’ or the perils of globalization. Globalization is indeed here to stay and the Christian component of it, more and more, will have a Chinese accent.

This paper is published by the kind permission of the author who describes himself:

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the center for the research of conversion and inter-religous encounters in Beer Sheva. My focus is on ethnicity and religion in contemporary China, particuarly in Yunnan Province. My doctorate dealt with christian missionary work in today's Yunnan and the way it realtes to issues of ethnicty, identity, state policy and globalization. 
In addition I teach Chinese history, culture and religion in Bar Ilan University and Herzog College.

Other papers he authored are found here.

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Hello dear sister and long-time friend, good to hear from you.

Thank you for being here and putting yourself on the map. I have replied to you via PM (private message).

If anyone else needs an adjustment, just let us know.

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I seem to be on the map twice but I do not know what email I used for the old listing

  • 15734
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The Scripture just prior to the "keys" passage is near and dear to my heart. Here is Matt 16:13-18...

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of **** shall not prevail against it.

Listening to Peter's testimony of who Jesus actually is always warms my heart. Yet many church leaders turn this beautiful piece of Scripture into something it is not. They focus on Peter and not Jesus. They follow on with the "keys" passage to claim ultimate authority with the church, even beyond Christ as the Head of the Church. They fail on at least two key points:

  1. The original Greek translates the middle of verse 18 as "and on this the rock I will build My church". Please notice the definite article "the" (τῇ) before the word "rock". Jesus' focus is not on Peter as many would have you believe, but rather on the Messiah Himself. "The rock" is Peter's answer to Jesus' question, "But who do you say that I am?" (emphasis mine) The authority that church fathers attempt to derive from this passage fails to manifest itself when Christ is the center of attention rather than Peter
  2. Not only are the "keys" OF the kingdom and not TO the kingdom, as you rightfully point out, but the "binding" is clearly in response to God's will and not the will of man. Please take a look at this same Scripture in the Young's Literal Translation, "19 and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens." English translations of the Bible often use active tense which tends to distort who the main actor is in a passage. The "binding" here is not the will of Peter and the other disciples, or of any other man, but rather of God Himself. The wording is admittedly a bit clunky, but hopefully you can see this principle in action if you pause mid-sentence with a comma... "whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be, having been bound in the heavens". The binding and loosening has already taken place in Heaven before any "decision" was made by a disciple. I believe that it is God the Father who binds and loosens, and that the disciples were just following God's will
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Thirty years is a long time. Many years ago and many miles ago. Many good memories among the not so good ones. God be thanked.

I think your and your wife's analysis is accurate. In looking back, I wish things had been different. And that the alternative church movement would not have been so continually pessimistic and judgmental.

It was summed up well in a line from the book Pagan Christianity: "The institutional church has no right to exist."

Well, something is better than nothing. Many of the critics of the institutional church had precious little themselves and therefore reduced the definition of church (literally, an assembly) to playing a round of golf, as portrayed in the book Revolution.

Rather than tear down the work of others - we must do something better ourselves.

Thou — who art thou that art judging another’s domestic servant? To his own master he will stand or fall; and he shall be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4.

No doubt, I have fallen into this quagmire myself and have been guilty from time to time. May God forgive me and enable me to do better in the time which remains. Looking back at some of the things I've written, the proper balance was occasionally lacking. I may have complained about "controlling clergy", for example. But for every one of them, there are dozens of "lazy laymen" who are unwilling to serve in any form of ministry or to exercise their newly discovered priesthood in Christ.

The perfect terminology about church affairs matters little. It is the substance which matters. Unless we are speaking the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, we are not speaking "Biblically". Scriptures warns us of getting carried away with words. If we master them all but have not love - something went wrong.

The principles do matter however. And so the question remains: How do we present truth without contrasting it with error? Can it be done? Yes, I think so. If so, it must be done in love.

How do we not be overcome evil but overcome evil with good?

Yes, it's thirty years later. As the song goes: "It's later than it's ever been before." Billions of precious people still have not heard a single presentation of the Gospel or visited any church of any kind. They are looking for help and hope more than a debate of any kind. Let us keep these in mind when we are fighting among ourselves and writing each other off.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Mark 9.
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An inquiry came in via email about the author of this ground-breaking volume.

Not to stir the pot too much, the author used a "pen-name". He was a university professor in New York and perhaps did not want to bring the school into this controversy. Pen-names were not unusual back then, I gather.

One additional note about the author regarding his other productions from an old magazine:

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Part of the problem, or part of the solution? Almost 30 years ago we attended a House Church Retreat in the US. Some of the people we shared a cabin with were swapping stories of the problems they experienced in the Institutional Church.

My wife interrupted them by asking, "But what is God doing among you now?"

That was a sincere question. We had already seen what was wrong in Christianity. We came there looking for how to get it right, or at least better.

Fortunately, we did meet some wonderful people then who were making progress and enjoying what God was presently doing with them. Thirty years later I have seen a greater general acceptance of the principle of small fellowships that focus more on worship and personal growth over programs.

However, the drive to tear down more than to build up seems to persist.

I know it is still not easy to work with limited resources and so few people who get what we are doing. Jesus started with 12, and after His resurrection had 500 followers. Many of them persisted and God blessed their faithfulness. They became part of the solution!

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Author of The Hireling Ministry - None of Christ's (London, 1652). Don't look for this title at your local Christian book / paraphernalia store.

Besides founding Rhode Island, in 1638 he founded the First Baptist Church in America in Providence. Williams studied the language of the New England Native Americans and published the first book-length study of it in English.

His combined writings fill 7 volumes. He was active in church, state, political, and missionary activities yet he provided for his own family. I wonder how many Baptists in today's world are aware of his example. The books I found this information in have not been recently checked out, you see.

A page below from the book Roger Williams, A Study of the Life, Times and Character of a Political Pioneer by Edmund Janes Carpenter (1909) is for further clarification of his unusual but Scriptural views:

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‍‍Bless the Lord, O my soul

O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning

It's time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me

Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul

O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger

Your name is great, and Your heart is kind

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul

O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing

The end draws near and my time has come

Still my soul will sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul

O my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name

Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before

O my soul

I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name

I'll worship Your holy name

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Added a File.   

Here is a review of a recent book entitled: THE ELDERS: SENIORITY WITHIN EARLIEST CHRISTIANITY. STUDIES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND ITS WORLD by R. Alastair Campbell.

It a obviously a book about the identity of those called elders. As this word reads - so does it mean. These are merely the older Christians who are given the responsibility of oversight and shepherding in the church of God. When readers of the New Testament letters came across the word, it already had thousands of years of clear meaning.

By viewing this review one will be reminded that the traditional consensus view of church leadership is being challenged and that it is ongoing. It's too bad that we lost about two thousand years attempting to figure it out.

This is not a mere academic question. Satan has always attempted to keep believers from their responsibilities. Most older ones in the church today have no clue that they are to be caring for, shepherding, and pastoring the others. Thankfully, there are many who instinctively have an awareness to be occupied in such a way toward their junior members.

Yet overall, the simplest, most natural arrangement has been all but lost upon us. Worse still, millions of Christian men who should be serving others in this respect seem to have little or nothing to do or a reason to live. Worse still, the finances of the churches today are dominated by the "teaching elder" when in reality, every elder is required to be a teacher. 1 Timothy 3 2.

The church must again become the servant church. Otherwise more irrelevance and eventual death await it. How can the servant church occur when it continues to spend most of it's resources upon itself?

Worse still, the joyful task of shepherding is given to those already in place. "The elders AMONG you..." Only Heaven knows the amount of false teaching and damage which has been delivered from afar by those, often with a seminary degree in hand, but practically unknown in the locality of the church. Worse still, thousands of churches close each year for lack of ability to fund this "teaching elder." Yes, there have been exceptions but they do not upend the rule.

Biblical eldership is not a calling, not a career, not an office. Nor is it referred to as such. Nor is an elder referred to as 'the minister' or 'the preacher' in the modern sense. Unless disqualified by sin, every Christian senior is to be involved in the care of God's flock. Elders are "appointed" or "ordained" to be the only thing which they can be appointed to: oversight. (They are also known as bishops). And just as qualified senior women, (and masters) were to be honored according to the same source, so were senior men. But the context of this is support is clearly needs based for both the male and female seniors. 

Taken at face value, 1 Timothy 5 17 teaches that it is the alleged "ruling elders" who are also to receive double honor.

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Can we really believe these small churches, often meeting in homes, were paying full-time salaries to a list of widows as well as to "ruling" and "teaching elders"?

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 examples to the flock.And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger... 1 Peter 5 1-5.

Did you happen to notice the last phrase above in which the seniors are contrasted to the younger ones? In Paul's address we see the same pattern. Elders are called to oversight. And do not overlook the fact that his manual work was intended to be an example to the elders of the church: 

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20.

Above all, we readily acknowledge that church structure does not have to be perfect in order for a community to be used of God. And, of course, we readily acknowledge that myriads of seminary graduates have been equipped to be better servants of their Lord. Still, we must press toward the Biblical standards as they will be proven to be the most effective and efficient in the times ahead. Regarding leadership, the bar for entry must neither be set too high nor too low.

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Here's an interesting quote from the above author George Bush. The phrase in view is "Pandora's Box of evil" which is spot on true. Please consider his words:

My question is: How can the Church again become the servant church? The early church had a list of qualified widows (among other things) which it supported, for example.

What happened to this list? I think I know the simple answer. Widows are no longer a financial priority. Most all the funding today goes to the clergy. I am referring to tens of billions of dollars each year.

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