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M Paul #28776 Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:34 AM
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Welcome to the forum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/hello.gif" alt="" />

Since you like quoting McLard (McLaren who clogs the veins of grace) what do you do with such quotes from him as found here?


Reformed and Always Reforming,
M Paul #28777 Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:05 AM
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Thanks Paul. Whether we like it or not, "House Churches" are the wave of the future. Once our Lefties get some judge to declare tax exempt status for Church property unconstitutional , we won't have any other choice. As is the case in Asia, they spread like wildfire, making the Western church look anemic.


gil
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What are house churches.

I would not classify Yonggi Cho's cell church model as 'house church.' I have ben involved with a couple of house churches over the years and moderated a church planting discussion list full of predominantly house church people for two years.

The house church movement exists independantly of the 'emerging church ' movement. Some in the emerging movement have gone into house churches. Those in the emergent church movement may label the house church movement as an emerging movement. But many in the HC movement have never heard of McLaren.

'The house church movemen't is not really an accurate term since it is not really an organized movement.

When I use the term 'house church' I do not just mean a church that meets in a house. Plenty of churches meet in a house and follow basically the same liturgy, whether formalized and written down or informal, that goes on in church buildings. The type of house church movement I am referring to is also known as 'simple church', 'a return to New Testament Christianity' or various other terms.

'House church' Christians can come from a variety of theological backgrounds. For example, one could be Calvinist, Armenian, or hold to the Open View, and go to a house church. The house church may be made up of only of people who hold to this view, or of a mixed group. A house church could be charismatic or rabidly anti-Charismatic. Some are Fundamentalists who insist on women's silence, and others take an alternate interpretation of the passages on this section.

Here are some general trends in 'the house church movement' in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

1. Belief in mutual edification in church meetings with multiple members using their gifts (as opposed to limiting it to hymns and one speaker with a sermon.)
2. Biblical church leadership structure. (x)
3. Meeting (generally) in homes, rather than in special purpose church buildings.
4. Emphasis on community, building relationships with others in the church, and loving one another in practical ways.
5. Eating the Lord's Supper as a part of a full meal.


I am hesitant to include 5, because many house churches these days may separate the meal from the Lord's Supper and have the bread and cup as a separate event from a pot-luck meal, but it many house churches do try to emulate primitive church practice by incorporating the Lord's Supper into a meal or eating the Supper as a meal (as 'Supper' implies). Basically, 'house church' is a movement to return to the type of church structure and practice we see in the scriptures. Some in the movement argue for this based on Paul's commands to hold to the traditions he has taught.

Comments on point number 1. In a house church this could take various forms. Some have discussion Bible studies. Other house churches may have people take turns giving rather long discourses, with certain teachers or elders taking a leading role.

Comments on point number 2. In many house churches, this is interpreted as having a plurality of elders that meet up to the Biblical qualifications. Many house churches reject the idea of the one-man pastorate over a group of non-pastoral elders. This model--of having the cleric pastor and non-cleric board elders-- evolved in Geneva in the Reformation area, not as a doctrinal practice, but just as their way of having church leadership and civil leadership combined in an attempted theocracy. It evolved into common church practice if not a matter doctrine in certain Presbyterial churches. House church leaders in the US who argue for a plurality of elders generally see the elders as pastoral figures (see Acts 20:28, I Peter 5.)

There are also house churches that are egalitarian and almost like early Quakers in their view of church government. They favor consensus in church meetings and view elders as 'older brothers' in the Lord, rather than seeing them also as an in an official position. With the growth of the house church movement, those from this sector of the house church movement seem to become an ever-increasing smaller percentage.

There are also some house churches that are similar to other house churches except they have one elder, or pastor, like many 'institutional churches.'

Comments on point number 3. Many Christians almost consider it sacriledge to do away with church buildings and meet in homes. However, house church Christians realize that the early churches--many if not most of them, at least--met in homes. There is no scriptural example of using church funds to build church buildings, and certain not most of the money.

Comments on number 4. In some house church communities, people cut each other's grass, make a special effort to share their goods with those who are needy in the church, or outside of it, and things of that nature. There is an emphasis on really getting to know one another and be like a family.

Comments on point number 5. Jesus introduced the practice of remembering Him through the bread and cup at the end of an actual meal. "The Lord's Supper" implies an actual meal, and it is apparent from I Corinthians 11 that the Lord's Supper, or an attempt at it, was eaten as an actual meal. Paul's letter to correct Corinth did not tell them to use tiny wafers and glass thimbles, but rather to tarry one for another (apparently wait for the poor to arrive before eating the meal.) The church apparently ate the Lord's Supper as a meal for some time, calling it the Agape, until over time the Eucharist and the Agape were separated into two events, and the Agape, without the Eucharist, lost its impact and fell out of favor.


Other than basic doctrines related to the function and meeting styles and locations of the church, 'house church' is not a set of church doctrines. The same is true of another movement, the emergent movement. House church values coincide in some emergent values, but they are not the same movement.

House Churches in Missions

House churches are growing on the missions fields. Here in Indonesia, many of the expatriate missionaries here serve as coaches to local church planters, helping them get started planting house churches. Many of them come from denominational backgrounds. House church in it's earlier, perhaps 'pure' form is not denominational. The Southern Baptists are behind house church now, posting the Church Planting Movements book on their IMB website. I have met people form a variety of other denominational backgrounds who are involved in planting house churches among unreached people groups. One goes to a Reformed church here in town. I also know of Baptists, Mennonites, Charismatics, and Anglicans. Here in Indonesia, non-denominational churches are not completely and clearly legal, though some do exist.

House churches are also growing rapidly in China, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, and other parts of the world.

If you think about it, the idea that to evangelize a nation, you should build a church building for every 100 or so people is pretty foolish. In times of 'revival', where many are coming to Christ, a congregation could waste valuable energy in construction projects when they could be focusing on the in-coming harvest. A denominational evangelism coordinator here in Indonesia noted that when they sent an evangelist out to start churches, he would start with a meeting in a home. The congregation would grow rapidly and there would be a lot of evangelism. But once they got to a certain size, the church's focus would change to getting a building. They would put together proposals to ask for funds, etc. At this point, their focus changed and evangelism would drop off. The coordinator for the denomination thought it was a good idea, for evangelism and church growth, to keep the meetings in homes. That is a pragmatic argument, but in scripture we see the saints meeting in homes and we have no record of their renting facilities or feeling the need to build temporal structures.

gnarley #28779 Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:37 AM
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gnarley said:
Thanks Paul. Whether we like it or not, "House Churches" are the wave of the future. Once our Lefties get some judge to declare tax exempt status for Church property unconstitutional , we won't have any other choice. As is the case in Asia, they spread like wildfire, making the Western church look anemic.

I doubt a judge would be dumb enough to take away the tax exempt status becuase once you do then a lot of churches would start openly endorsing candiadates. Image the SBC openly picking candidates, it would be the death of the democratic party in the south.

CovenantInBlood #28780 Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:34 AM
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M Paul said:

The most prominent example of the house church/ whole church, I believe, is Yongi Cho's. It has 750,000 members, but only about 40,000 to 50,000 meet on any given Sabbath downtown for a congregational service. The rest meet in houses. It is a church that reflects the modern culture.

If Yonggi Cho is supposed to be an example of the house church movement, that's enough there for me to dismiss you out of hand. The man is a prime example of a heretic.

But why should we want a church to be reflecting the modern culture anyway?

I don't know very much about Cho. The point is, that the emerging church does not have to involve theology -- but organizational structure, focus, styles of communication. Your answer seems to reflect that you simply don't want to understand what may be going on presently, if it's different than what you have already accepted. The house church movement doesn't really care if it reflects modern culture: it's an effort to get back to the Bible and away from human tradition. It just so happens, that in doing so, it actually does have some similarities with the concept of "post-modern." We don't have to want to reflect modern culture, but we do have to try to understand how that culture may be attempting to affect the church -- so we can control what goes on if necessary.

Regards,

Paul

J_Edwards #28781 Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:38 AM
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J_Edwards said:
Welcome to the forum. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/hello.gif" alt="" />

Since you like quoting McLard (McLaren who clogs the veins of grace) what do you do with such quotes from him as found here?

I can only assume you made this response without having really read my first post. I said Mclaren is insignificant to the movement, but even he has noted his concept may only be a conversation on post-modern, rather than a church.

Regards,

Paul

Link #28782 Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:47 AM
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The house church movement exists independantly of the 'emerging church ' movement.

Well, have you even done a search on the internet with something like Google or Yahoo?? Have you visited an emergent forum and looked at what they have to say about it?? How you can say the house church movement is not at the center of the emerging church is simply beyond me. However, I'm not actually speechless, but I just think you have to explore what is going on more. Just my opinion.

Regards,

M Paul

gnarley #28783 Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:58 AM
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gnarley said:
Thanks Paul. Whether we like it or not, "House Churches" are the wave of the future. Once our Lefties get some judge to declare tax exempt status for Church property unconstitutional , we won't have any other choice. As is the case in Asia, they spread like wildfire, making the Western church look anemic.

That's it -- the church is going to change in approaches to reaching people just as it always has, only hopefully with the emerging house church it will be a lot more biblical. I have to admit, I found the movement, as I always wondered why the church experience was irrelevant to me, and I started digging more and more into Scripture on what church really was supposed to be.

In the house church movement, there is a debate on whether the churches should be 501(c)(3). I take the position definitely. There are good reasons for having non-profit corporation statutes and for always obeying the law.

And, yes -- the house church movement has a lot of variety, within biblical confines, and it leads to making Christianity real and exciting for many, many of us. However, if times of persecution come, the house church will be the movement that deals with it most effectively, as it has done in the past and the present.

Regards,

M Paul

M Paul #28784 Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:37 PM
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I can only assume you made this response without having really read my first post. I said Mclaren is insignificant to the movement, but even he has noted his concept may only be a conversation on post-modern, rather than a church.
Not significant! McLaren is now required reading in seminaries. I know PCA pastor's purchasing his books, but not to debate them, but to embrace his concepts. Equipping Today's Church for Tomorrow's Challenges states, "Bryan McLaren has emerged as one of the leading 'prophetic voices' calling us to consider how the church can remain faithful to Christ while being spiritually, socially and culturally relevant in a rapidly changing world." Brian McLaren was recently named by Time magazine as one of 25 most influential evangelicals! McLaren is a loud voice for the Emerging Church and any attempt to disassociate him from the movement simply crumbles. Of course, it is understandable why most desire to distance themselves from him as many of his teachings are heretical. Postmodernism and the emerging church movement are founded on a false premise (that we cannot know anything definitely). However, while fallen humans cannot know the truth perfectly, that does not mean that all truth is unknowable, or that one perspective is just as valid as any other. Humans can truly know knowledge, even if they cannot know it perfectly. As Carson says, "postmodern philosophy inexorably leads to moral relativism. If truth is entirely a matter of individual perspective, then morality has no objective basis, and quickly becomes an individual judgment call. This worldview is profoundly un-Christian."

McLaren has a way with words which is very deceptive. You paraphase him saying, "his concept may only be a conversation on post-modern, rather than a church" and yet he pastors a Church? Please note that all heresy is expressed through conversation of word or deed.


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Link #28785 Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:36 PM
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Thanks Link--That pretty well explains it & it is the house church movement that I was interested in. Have you ever read Snyder's "The problem with Wineskins"? It was written about 30 years ago & describes experience (positive) while serving as a missionary in South America


gil
gnarley #28786 Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:29 PM
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M Paul

The HC movement will be labeled as an 'emerging movement' depending on who is defining the term emergent. But a lot of people in house church have never heard of the 'emergent movement.' Critics who associate 'emergent' with theological issues they disagree about that come from McLaren and others may associate HC's with McLaren.

I have not read Snyder's books. Steve Atkerson, Bob Fitts, and Robert Banks are some authors I am familiar with. I actually am finishing up a book of my own on church planting in the scripture as it relates to house churches if you would like a copy by email...

J_Edwards #28787 Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:30 PM
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Not significant! McLaren is now required reading in seminaries. I know PCA pastor's purchasing his books, but not to debate them, but to embrace his concepts. Equipping Today's Church for Tomorrow's Challenges states, "Bryan McLaren has emerged as one of the leading 'prophetic voices' calling us to consider how the church can remain faithful to Christ while being spiritually, socially and culturally relevant in a rapidly changing world." Brian McLaren was recently named by Time magazine as one of 25 most influential evangelicals! McLaren is a loud voice for the Emerging Church and any attempt to disassociate him from the movement simply crumbles.

Etc. etc. etc. You ignore completely what I said about why he is insignificant, just so you can state why you think he is. That approach is consistent with other things I said in my first post about how attention is being focused on him to make him significant for particular motives. In truth, that dog don't hunt.

Regards,

M Paul

M Paul #28788 Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:13 AM
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It is interesting to note that in previous posts the "Emergent" church movement here is agreed to be a "house church" movement. A rudimentary study of the movement shows it to be just about anything and everything. White Horse Inn host Michael Horton says trying to define the movement is like trying to nail jello to the wall. McLaren is just one of many who are identified with this movement. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan area we have Mars Hill Bible church and Rob Bell, also recognized to be "emergent"...with 10,000 in attendance there each week in a remodeled shopping mall it would hardly qualify as a house church.
Rob Bell's book 'Velvet Elvis' is pathetic. It questions just about every orthodox teaching of the true Christian Church.


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M Paul said:
Etc. etc. etc. You ignore completely what I said about why he is insignificant, just so you can state why you think he is. That approach is consistent with other things I said in my first post about how attention is being focused on him to make him significant for particular motives. In truth, that dog don't hunt.
So, from what I have been able to understand from what you have written about your "brand" of house church theology and the "Emerging Church" heresy of McLaren, it seems this is one of those "chicken or the egg" dilemmas. Both you and McLaren with his followers both want to claim the moniker of "Emerging Church". The dilemma here is apparently who can rightfully lay claim to it. Over many years I have never read nor heard anyone who espouses the "house church" phenomena refer to themselves or what they were espousing as "emerging".

I would guess that if you could show that this idea you hold to re: "house churches", which rejects the historic and traditional ecclesiology of the Church, came first, then you could rightfully use the term to describe what it is you believe. However, if McLaren and those that follow him and others similar to him, i.e., those who want to change the biblical teaching concerning the Gospel for another "gospel" and the methodology of both reaching the lost and edifying the saints for the philosophies of post-modernism, which you say you reject and want no relationship with can rightly lay claim to the term "emerging church", then if I were you, I would discontinue using that term. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/idea.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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M Paul #28790 Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:28 AM
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You ignore completely what I said about why he is insignificant, just so you can state why you think he is. That approach is consistent with other things I said in my first post about how attention is being focused on him to make him significant for particular motives. In truth, that dog don't hunt.
Dear Sir, apparently you need some assistance adding, so let me assist you. First, you claim we are ignoring this ;

Quote
However, McLaren may be getting a lot of attention, because he has a Ph.D. in English literature (the people who love the term "post-modern"), and because he can make the discussion sound so academic, but the truth of the matter is, that if something new is emerging that arises from and is consistent with a technological culture, it is not doing so in the halls of academia, but it is a grass roots movement from "common people," and McLaren isn't significant to the great majority of them at all, if they even know his name. McLaren makes it easy for some Christian academics who want to stay with human tradition in the Protestant church and to criticize any understanding of church structure and practice different than their own, which has afforded them so much prestige. But McLaren's views in the reality of what is actually occurring don't count for very much at all.
Now, LOOK it has not been ignored.

Second, if you will re-reread my post I stated PASTORS are reading McLaren's material and SEMINARIES are making it required reading. Now it may surprise you however, these pastors teach the "common people." Many of the people who are capable and in a position to stop this heresy are themselves being entrenched into its snare. When the minds of leadership are poisoned the "common people" have no true direction. McLaren and others like him are significant. Your dog ain't hunting at all;

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2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Webster once said;

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If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, and the people do not become religious, I do not know what is to become of us as a nation. If the truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and his Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt through the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation and end.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
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