House Churches

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robot

Puritan Board Freshman
What are your views on house churches, like the one on http://www.house-church.org? Is the modern day church structure supported by scripture (pastors, church building, sermons, etc)?

I'm just wondering what you guys think about these issues (there's many pastors on this board, so I'd like to see their views:)).
 

exscentric

Puritan Board Freshman
I am not aquainted with the site, but know some of the home churches are off doctrine wise.

Sind many peoples houses are bigger than the churches I've attended most of my life, why not a house church - same the money normally going to building costs.

Since the early church met in homes it might be a good idea :grin:
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
From House to House

It is in the biblical record: while the preaching, at times, was accomplished in open-air arenas, the ongoing work of building up the brethren (Hebrews 10:25) was realized in "homes."
I have checked the above site; in the main, I would support its efforts.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Robot: there is a series of sermons on sermon audio (Refutation of Harold Camping) that deals with the issue of the church. It is directed at a teaching that the church, organized as we know it, is invalid in our day; and that we need to establish house churches, or small groups of fellowship, and place less importance on preaching.
The series is well-researched, and preached in a very Christian way.

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsspeaker&sermonID=10190161036

(That is the link to the first in the series.)

'It is in the biblical record: while the preaching, at times, was accomplished in open-air arenas, the ongoing work of building up the brethren (Hebrews 10:25) was realized in "homes."'

It is significant, though, that Phillippians is addressed to the saints which are at Phillippi "with the bishops and deacons" as one body, when in other larger regions (such as Galatia), the epistle is addressed to "the churches." I,II Corinthians are also addressed to a single church. That would not indicate a number of "house churches," in these cities, but one church ruled by the same body of bishops and deacons. James 2 also indicates that the believers were gathered together in a formal place of assembly: "For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel..." etc. The word in the Greek is unusual, but it does not imply house.




[Edited on 3-20-2004 by a mere housewife]
 

robot

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks merehousewife, I'll check it out:)
I've never said I agree with them, I just wanted to see what you guys think about it. I think house churches are great, but so are organized churches. Both have their pro's and con's.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
lets not forget that they [i:8bee14e7f7]had[/i:8bee14e7f7] to meet in homes due to persecution. I think that churches need to be public and established when we have the means to do so.

Rembrandt
 

lkjohnson

Puritan Board Freshman
While I firmly believe that we must learn to do church with less money than we generally do now and that smaller churches are much more effective than larger churches, my experience with most house churches is that they are little groups of believers who have fixated on a single issue and are not willing to be accountable to others. They generally have a persecution complex and are unwilling to grow.

I am sure there are exceptions, but why risk isolation.
 

robot

Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:8416ebd086][i:8416ebd086]Originally posted by lkjohnson[/i:8416ebd086]
While I firmly believe that we must learn to do church with less money than we generally do now and that smaller churches are much more effective than larger churches, my experience with most house churches is that they are little groups of believers who have fixated on a single issue and are not willing to be accountable to others. They generally have a persecution complex and are unwilling to grow.

I am sure there are exceptions, but why risk isolation. [/quote:8416ebd086]

yeah, that's what I kind of thought after reading some of their articles and whatnot.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
I am very familiar with the house church movement. These people are often mavericks who have a problem with submitting to authority and are somewhat eccentric in other areas.

The house church movement may be identified with the belief that "house churches" are the N.T. way of doing church -- and the only way.

They usually have neither elders or deacons. Any man who has been around long enough is allowed to teach (they don't believe preaching is for the church) and because most have not had any formal theological training, the teaching is often hair-brained and ill-prepared. Some of their teachers are fixated on some one doctrine that causes them to be estranged from regular churches (that is, their doctrines would get them excommunicated from a larger church having structure and authority).

Because they isolate themselves from the larger Christian community, there is little outreach or missions emphasis.

In many of the house churches that I have been familiar with, the lack of functional church discipline has allowed minor squabbles to make the church a den of argumentation and a boxing ring for self-will.

This does not preclude the possibility of saner churches, but I haven't seen any yet.

Churches meeting in homes out of necessity is quite proper. The house church movement calls the regular churches "state churches." They fail to realize that Jesus met in a synagogue, which was not only a building but not overtly ordained by God.

And that's my :wr50:
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
My husband & I were talking about this, and he pointed out two things which I thought were worth adding to the discussion, specifically with regards to preaching/pastors.

1st, that Eutychus fell from the window while Paul was [i:936d1f13b9]preaching[/i:936d1f13b9] in what appears to be a house meeting.

2nd, Paul exhorts Timothy that the elders who rule well be worthy of double honor, [i:936d1f13b9]especially those who labor in the word and doctrine[/i:936d1f13b9] (ESV says "those who labor in preaching and teaching"). Evidently not all of of the elders were laboring in the word/doctrine- preaching/teaching. Some of them would have been necessarily laboring at other jobs, though they were "apt to teach." Those who labored in the word (in addition to ruling well) should have a special place in the honor of the church-- as a good pastor does.



[Edited on 3-21-2004 by a mere housewife]
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I forgot to add the verse following: "For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer deserves his wages."

The elders who labored in the word and in doctrine were to be supported by the church. As my husband says, this was not a Plymouth Brethren type atmosphere, with everybody taking turns.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
It SCREAMS...

One thing I can show from a very cursory reading of this site is that they are not believers in Sola Scriptura. Oh, they throw around the fact that they are true to the Bible, but they are woefully mistaken that its' interpretation is to go on without the last 2000 years to bear upon it. Not to mention, they are not good scholars when it comes to either refuting or stating their own arguments.

History shows that where confessionalism is lacking, where there is dissention about what is to be believed and how it is to be applied, there is darkness. These house churches would get rid of confessionalism and creedalism, so that no shread of orthodoxy would remain except where they were like a clock and right two times a day.

I would like to be the first (and if I'm not the first, please forgive me) to call these guys, neo-anabaptists.

They sound radical. And I would venture that they are not calvinistic, by and large.

In Christ,

KC
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Traditions

I was thinking about this more today...
about the distinction he makes between "tradition" and "doctrine" on the website: "What might cause quite a lot of Christians problems, however, is my next proposition that there is, in fact, a whole batch of commands relating to one particular area of following the Lord which not only are not obeyed, but which are either considered to be irrelevant, [i:7176e1f950]or not even known to be in the pages of scripture at all. What I am referring to are the particular practices of the churches established by the apostles..." [/i:7176e1f950](which he goes on to distinguish as the "traditions" of the apostles).
The texts given are 2 Thessalonians 2:15 ("So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter") and 3:4,6 (the tradition of the apostles to separate from those who were idle). What they forget to "exposit" here is that the tradition was not something "not even known to be in the pages of scripture at all," but something explicitly written down as well as orally taught and practiced-- they had learned it "either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 3:4,6 is after all written down). The content of Scripture equals the tradition. So when he comes to quote 1 Corinthians 11:2 ("maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you") and says, "And what this tells us is that it is quite obvious that Paul had indeed taught the Corinthian church to meet in a particular way, and to proceed along particular lines and to do particular things. He had, in fact, given them a how to do it-type set of instructions when it came to meeting as a church..."-- and assumes that this is something distinct from the doctrines we are given concerning the church in Scripture (tradition is always based on practice, he says), he ignores that the content of Scripture equals the content of the traditions. As far as I can see, this is the whole foundation for everything else he says. That's not good, is it?





[Edited on 3-23-2004 by a mere housewife]
 

Bryan

Puritan Board Freshman
A pastor I know well as recently started up a house church. He has become disenfrenchized with the way the church in North America has become, it being more a business then a church.

Now I began by thinking he was a little bit off in this area, but when I went to it on Sunday evening and talked it over with him it's not as crazy an idea as I first supposed. The truth is that I that there is a lot that happens in the church the way it is now that isn't biblical, but ideas that have been put onto it to make things work (IE. Using Robert's Rules of Order at business meetings or having a business meeting every so many months is mandatory...) but often these things cause more problems then they create.

He brought up a lot of good points about how the church is wasteful the way it is set up as well. Consider how much energy is put into maintaining the church building (in manhours and money) yet it is used very little. Is that really being a good stewart of what has been given?

So after talking with him I understand the position a lot better, and agree with a fair bit of it. I am still learly on doctrine however. If it's done right I think it could be a paradise, but errors can easily creep in, more then in a regular church.

I'm not ready to do away with a local church the way it is generally done...yet. But I do so great benefits in what is being done (this pastor I know at least) with home churches., and it see it as being a more biblical approach.

Bryan
SDG
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
I wanted to add something considering I have been following the House Church Movement and if the Lord Wills, we will have a house church movement in our area as a result of the work of our church.

Doctrinally, just like anything else, there are house churches on every major theological front out there. Actually, from my experience, the two most prominent users of the house church idea are reformed believers and people associated with the vineyard movement.

In our analysis our church spends well over $10,000.00 per year just to pay the utilities of our church building (not to mention repairs that need to take place). On the money issue, I know one house church in North Carolina whose biggest expense is buying paper plates and cups for their fellowship meal that occurs after the preaching is done. House churches, in my experience, tend to have better outreach into the community than established churches in buildings. As well, they tend to have better fellowship and accountability from my experience. A church I know who is a house church has seen God bring salvation to 8 people in the last year which increased his church size by about 30%. The effectiveness is greater, in my opinion, because the ministry of each member is discussed in the house church (or many house churches) and they are kept accountable in ministering into the community.

How a house church operates varies according to theology. Some have a number of preachers every sunday and others just have one preacher. Most are family integrated. I know some house churches who have people speak then put in R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur to further grow from these great men.

I don't think a person can properly "Pastor" a church of a few hundred people. House churches, by design, keep the numbers low in the home and it allows true pastoring to occur. I talked to one house church leader today who related that in one house church they had to do church discipline. Because the congregation was much closely knit than in most, the results were amazing. He said he has seen church discipline in many churches but this one was probably the best he has ever seen because of the close ties they had together. Not only that, but there is usually a higher ministry per person ratio.

There are theologies of House Churches out there that are very good. I have several books and tape series on the subject from people who have a variety of beliefs.

In planting a church you essentially need the following: Elders, a meeting place, and people.

Some home churches are light on doctrine and others are very heavy--just like any church movement.

Many follow a common scenario in ministry.

1. Longer services, longer preaching/teaching, longer prayer, less music (this varies but the ones I have seen are like this). It is not unusual for a service to begin at 10:00 and people leave the home at 3:00.
2. A meal following the service where the Lord's Supper is served (many refuse to call it communion, it is the Lord's Supper).
3. Ministry and outreach based upon geographic location. A house church in a neighborhood sees it as their job to reach that neighborhood.
4. Family Integrated (I have heard of a few not family integrated but most are).
5. Not a one man show. Many men get up and share from the Bible, not just one (this also varies).

Granted, the type we are moving towards will have the home groups meet for a service weekly as they meet in the homes during the weekdays. Yet, our hope is to plant an entirely new church using this concept.

I will go back to the shadows now, but I wanted to input on something that I have been following for years and something I am rather convinced is a great idea. Afterall, our church will save $10,000.00 a year that we can use to reach more people in better ways. Not to mention, I hope to bring up many bi-vocational pastors who will take over and bring up their own leadership from within rather than looking somewhere to find a man they know little about and has to take the word of another church about his calling into ministry. I believe we should test our men and if they are qualified they should be the elder, not let someone else test him and then trust they tested him throroughly.

Derick
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
We need to keep in mind that the site given in this thread is only one part of the house church movement. Think about it this way, what if your whole denomination was judged by one ministry or one church?

We must also keep in mind that a church is not about where you meet, but who you are! A church can meet in a house, a rec center, a store front, a church building, or as one I heard of recently, in a funeral home (like the catecombs, huh?).

Just because a church meets in a house, that does not contradict any Scriptural teaching. As long as it is a sound church, doctrinally and practically, it can meet wherever they want to meet. The NT church met in the temple, synagogues and from house to house! (Acts 2).

A big building with a steeple, stained glass, and a lighted sign does not make a building a church, nor are we required to go someplace special for worship (John 4).

Our church, when first planted, met in homes for over 3 years. Then we had to move to a larger facility and so we now rent a room at the local recreation center for Sunday morning. When we meet during the week though it is in members homes.

Think about this. We have a growing church that pays $30 a week for our space on Sunday and has no utility costs, groundskeeping, insurance, or debt!

How many of your churches can list as an item in your budget the cost for a meeting place for just a little over $1500 a year? And when we were in a house it was even less! We paid [i:6c8a12209e]nothing[/i:6c8a12209e] for the space as the members "donated" it for our services.

So let's not get tunnel vision and think that if you don't have a building you are not a church. The Scriptural pattern for the church is given quite clearly and it does not include anything about [i:6c8a12209e]where[/i:6c8a12209e] to meet.....but a lot about [i:6c8a12209e]how[/i:6c8a12209e] to meet!

Phillip

PS -

[b:6c8a12209e]WCF chapter 21[/b:6c8a12209e]
VI. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, [u:6c8a12209e]either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed[/u:6c8a12209e]: but [u:6c8a12209e]God is to be worshipped everywhere, in spirit and truth[/u:6c8a12209e]; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto.

[b:6c8a12209e]LBCF chapter 22[/b:6c8a12209e]
Under the Gospel neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship [u:6c8a12209e]is tied to, or made more acceptable by, any place in which it is performed or towards which it is directed[/u:6c8a12209e]. [u:6c8a12209e]God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth[/u:6c8a12209e], whether in private families daily, in secret by each individual, or solemnly in the public assemblies. These are not to be carelessly or wilfully neglected or forsaken, when God by His Word and providence calls us to them.



[Edited on 3-24-04 by pastorway]
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I agree that meeting in houses is not at all wrong, as long as it's not presented as a binding tradition-- but is it Biblical to say that preaching is not for the church, and to do away with pastors?
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
As stated, there is a variety of theological beliefs and "getting rid of pastors" as well as no preaching is very rampant in the mainline churches. Yet, my experience is that there is more preaching occurring in house churches than not. I would state that many advocate bi-vocational elders over a full time paid staff.

Derick
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
My point is - Don't lump every church that happens to meet in a house with the stuff at the link provided at the start of this thread! Even churches that meet in church buildings can have these serious doctrinal and practical problems.

The issue is not where the church meets, but whether they are in any way a sound Biblical church in what they believe (doctrine) and practice.

It seems that there is a quickness in judging a "church" that meets in a house just because it meets in a house.

The soundness of a church is not related in any way to where it meets.

Click here to read my article on the marks of a sound church: Seven Marks of a Sound Church

Phillip
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
I want to be clear on a few things. My critique was of the site and what they believe. Any house church part of this ilk, should be scruntinized.

However, I was not speaking against Matthew and Scott in what they are doing because they are not seeking isolation, but fellowship with a denomination.

House churches that separate themselves from the "mainline" denominations should be suspect. I believe that the LBCF and the WCF explain what lawful churches are and their are plenty of them. For a house church group to sever this tie, they should put up a sign out in front of their house that they are lone nuts. I am speaking only about the ones who defy denominational association.

I was in a so-called non-denominational church for years and I can tell you that there is no reason for a church to separate from a denomination. Denominations are not bad, contrary to what that site said and what I have heard some people say on a discussion board called 5solas. BTW, these guys (5Solas) are deep into NCT and house churches with no denominational ties.

One thing about those guys and the site above mentioned is that they seem to be hung up on the fact that the Lord's Table is a full meal. I am not sure why they are so wrapped up about that.

While still situated atop my ever rickety soapbox, I will say one thing more about denominationalism. If a church group cannot show that they are descendants of a mostly orthodox church, then we need to seriously consider them as divisive and separate from their fellowship. They are claiming a "new light" that does not agree with the light given.

In Christ,

KC
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
"Don't lump every church that happens to meet in a house with the stuff at the link provided at the start of this thread! Even churches that meet in church buildings can have these serious doctrinal and practical problems."

Absolutely. The reason I was concerned about what is said on the website is because that is what was asked about. I know all house churches are not like that; our church started in a house, and if we are missionaries, I don't expect to start anywhere else. But there is a movement that the website represents that is growing more largely. They do emphasize that preaching is not for the church, and that there should be no pastors. I think Christians have to be prepared to show how that is not scriptural, whether they encounter it in a building or in a house.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
We are in total agreement then!
:smug:

We must be discerning, for not all who claim to be a church are actually true and sound churches.

Phillip
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
KC,

I agree that the Lord's Supper is a full meal. Over the many books and tapes which addresses the subject, they (home churches) wonder why it is changed. There are reasons for wanting it to be a full meal:

1. The Bible says that if you have a problem with a brother, go get it right and then come back to the meal and partake. That is impossible if we do it the way most churches do it.

2. The Lord's Supper is a time of fellowship and requires much inward examination. When we partake over a meal, there are times I take a lot of time praying through things and testing my heart to ensure I am taking it in a proper manner. I am not on anyones time table as when most churches partake in the meal.

3. A meal fosters more fellowship than what we do. Sometimes brothers get together around the table and "confess" sins to one another. Sometimes they share the things of the Lord in taking the Lord's Supper. To me, this is invaluable.

4. A meal is what the Bible teaches, thus the rationale should be why have we changed it? Is it based upon tradition or the Bible? Granted, there may be room to change it but we should not question someone who goes back to a meal and emphasizes it as Biblical (for I believe it is) but we should wonder why we changed it and if it was proper to change.

As far as your statement on denominations and coming from orthodoxy, then you must have a problem with the Reformation, for they came out of an apostate church to form their own church. The issue, rather, is faithfulness to the Bible not a line of succession. If we believe in Sola Scriptura, it is about how faithful one is to the Bible not about a line of succession. For the latter is a Roman Catholic mindset not found in the Bible and should be rejected. As well, a criteria for a church should be faithfulness to the Bible not whether it belongs to a denomination. Even denominations lack accountability and turn wayward thus we should look at the church and remain faithful to the Word of God. As a Pastor of a church, my concern is not advancing a denomination or my loyalty to a denomination but my loyalty to God and His Word. As a Pastor, I seek accountability from various Pastors as well as wisdom and must reject my own denomination at times to remain faithful to God's Word. My denomination is not infallible but God's Word is, and thus I can see why people will not have associations with a denomination. To me, it is all about the Bible not about denominations.

Derick
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Derick...

[quote:c58445494b][i:c58445494b]Originally posted by Drdad[/i:c58445494b]
KC,

I agree that the Lord's Supper is a full meal. Over the many books and tapes which addresses the subject, they (home churches) wonder why it is changed. There are reasons for wanting it to be a full meal:

1. The Bible says that if you have a problem with a brother, go get it right and then come back to the meal and partake. That is impossible if we do it the way most churches do it.

2. The Lord's Supper is a time of fellowship and requires much inward examination. When we partake over a meal, there are times I take a lot of time praying through things and testing my heart to ensure I am taking it in a proper manner. I am not on anyones time table as when most churches partake in the meal.

3. A meal fosters more fellowship than what we do. Sometimes brothers get together around the table and "confess" sins to one another. Sometimes they share the things of the Lord in taking the Lord's Supper. To me, this is invaluable.

4. A meal is what the Bible teaches, thus the rationale should be why have we changed it? Is it based upon tradition or the Bible? Granted, there may be room to change it but we should not question someone who goes back to a meal and emphasizes it as Biblical (for I believe it is) but we should wonder why we changed it and if it was proper to change.[/quote:c58445494b]

I cannot see why the sacrament must be a full meal. Paul's words of institution in I Cor. 11, is pretty specific as to what part is the Lord's Table and what part is fellowship. I am not saying that there is no fellowship in the Table, I am saying that there is no Table in a meal of meat and potatoes, which is what I have heard some house churches practice. I am sorry, we are given the bread and the wine as instituted by Christ. Meatloaf and 3-bean salad, while yummy and great while engaging in fellowship, may add to our communion, but is not part of the Table.

We have a fellowship meal once a month. We have the Table every Lord's Day. This is not different than the early church.

Where these others have taken it, encompasses more than the taking of the bread and wine. That is where they cross the line.

[quote:c58445494b]As far as your statement on denominations and coming from orthodoxy, then you must have a problem with the Reformation, for they came out of an apostate church to form their own church.[/quote:c58445494b]

Because there was no lawful church, they had to return to one. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. What these others are doing is separating themselves from lawful churches. That is wrong. And, while they may be touting that they are Luther, he would not be in agreement with them.

[quote:c58445494b]The issue, rather, is faithfulness to the Bible not a line of succession.[/quote:c58445494b]

If this is the issue, then we have a problem because everyone can interpret the Scriptures differently. If so, how do we know what is heresy and what isn't. The Bible itself is authoritative. The derived authority from it, that is beneath it and not above, is the church. And, while not infallible, she does have the authority to say what is true from Scripture and what is a lie. This is orthodoxy. It is also a testimony to how the Spirit works in the churches, giving them common interpretation and application.

[quote:c58445494b]If we believe in Sola Scriptura, it is about how faithful one is to the Bible not about a line of succession.[/quote:c58445494b]

Unfortunately, it is SOLO Scriptura if the Bible is interpreted outside the rule of faith of the apostolic church. As I said before, many of these churches aren't calvinistic in the soteriology. They move outside Sola Scriptura and move onto SOLO Scriptura. It is their interpretation alone that is correct. It is not just me and my Bible. There is a rule of faith, and it is every much a part of Sola Scriptura as the Scriptures themselves.

[quote:c58445494b]For the latter is a Roman Catholic mindset not found in the Bible and should be rejected.[/quote:c58445494b]

No, the RCC teaches that only their interpretation through magisterium and papal infallibility. There is a big difference. Their interpretation becomes infallible.

[quote:c58445494b]As well, a criteria for a church should be faithfulness to the Bible not whether it belongs to a denomination.[/quote:c58445494b]

Again, unfortunately all this causes is further division in God's church. If they don't number themselves with a church, they are numbered outside of that church, which means they are a denomination to themselves, only in minature. Now, they are not accountable to the One Body of Christ, but look only to their own for faith and practice.

[quote:c58445494b]Even denominations lack accountability and turn wayward thus we should look at the church and remain faithful to the Word of God.[/quote:c58445494b]

This is not a reason to get rid of them. They are peopled with people, they are not perfect. However, they should not be avoided because the absence of them is not perfect, either.

[quote:c58445494b]As a Pastor of a church, my concern is not advancing a denomination or my loyalty to a denomination but my loyalty to God and His Word.[/quote:c58445494b]

This is a caricature. If you think Machen was loyal to the OPC at the expense of God and His Word, you are mistaken. You are looking at certain situations where you have experience. But you cannot grade denominationalism on the negative examples. Look at them for what they accomplish. They accomplish orthodoxy. There is nothing wrong with that.

[quote:c58445494b]As a Pastor, I seek accountability from various Pastors as well as wisdom and must reject my own denomination at times to remain faithful to God's Word.[/quote:c58445494b]

There are none that are perfect, which is why you are doing well, if you do this.

[quote:c58445494b]My denomination is not infallible but God's Word is, and thus I can see why people will not have associations with a denomination. To me, it is all about the Bible not about denominations.

Derick [/quote:c58445494b]

And, if they are willing to separate from brothers because they do not agree with interpretation, then they are becoming a denomination unto themselves. Will they not expel a person who does not believe as they do? Do they not have a requirement for membership? Do they have no accountability in the body? If they have all these things, they have numbered who they choose to serve with. This is no different than a denomination, only smaller.

Do you think Paul would agree with a church who had received the teaching of the Jerusalem Council, yet did not wish to be under their authority? Perhaps they did not interpret the Scriptures to say what the Jerusalem Council arrived at.

Now, I am not saying that our denoms carry the weight of Apostolic authority, but there is heirarchy within a church. Those who step outside of this, step outside of the body of Christ. They are divisive and should be treated as such.

In Christ,

KC
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
KC,

Unfortunately you admit that the Lord's Supper did take place at a meal but offered no rationale as to why to change except that you see no reason why not to change your mind, thus I believe you are making the case they are making, "It was changed" but they ask "why?". Thus you agree with their interpretation but still disagree with them without rationale. Again, their mentality is that the Biblical Status quo is at a meal (there is no specific menu in the Bible, thus there is freedom) they say if this is the status quo then others need to answer to why they change. I am not saying, personally, that what other churches do is wrong, but I do believe it is wise to think through the issue. My church does hold the Lord's Supper at a meal and I would not want to go back to the other way.

Secondly, as a former Catholic they do maintian successionisn in more ways than just proper intepretation, which is a mute point. Had I held to your mindset that you seem to hold of apostolic tradition, I would have never left the Catholic Church.

Thirdly, I believe in the perspecuity of Scripture. It sounds like you do not believe that a common person with the Word of God can accurately study the Bible and keep from heresy. In fact, I have more faith in our common people than in those "trained". Most heresies throughout history began among the "trained" people. As stated, when you deal with House Churches, I see the two strongest groups developing house churches (From a theological standpoint) are reformed or a member of the vineyard movement. Socially, the largest group I know of are those who hold to Family Integration and most of these are reformed. Thus, many of them hold to proper doctrine. Granted, there are sour apples in every bunch, even among every denomination. The issue is not whether there are bad apples but whether it is proper.

Fourthly, you mentioned "because there was no (orthodox) church" they had to begin one (concerning the reformation). I think this statement shows our disagreement. I see the church as two entities, a local body of believers and the Universal Church. I do not see a denomination as a part of the local body nor do I see them as being the Universal. There is not a "denomination Church", local Church, and Universal Church. There is only a local and Universal church. Only these two entities the only ones in the Bible but a part of why I think the non-denominational movement is good. They are not forced to associate with apostate churches just because you happen to belong to the same denomination and they can surround themself with orthodox churches who are the local church. They see no made up group called the "Denominational Church."

I would invite your definition of what makes a denomination a denomination. My definition of a denomination is as follows:

"A group of 3 or more churches who unite together around common doctrine for the purpose of fulfilling Biblical mandates and sees themselves as a denomination."

Finally, you make a distinction between sola and solo scriptura. Obvious in your statement that you add historic (apostolic) tradition in with sola scriptura. You stated that "...outside the rule of faith of the apostolic church." I hope you are defining the apostolic church as being that of the Bible and not just history. For where history contradicts the Bible we must hold to the Bible even if council, creed, or Pope disagrees (I think this is a pretty close quote of a famous reformer). This is Sola Scriptura. I do not believe you can prove "anything" with the Bible. My simple response to that is, "Good, if you can prove anything with the Bible, try it and see if it can withstand cross examination and proper exegesis."

Finally, you mentioned heirarchy. I invite your Biblical verses on this one point. In the Bible we had Elders in the local church and Apostles. I believe the Apostles no longer exist and thus this leaves Elders. I never see a group of people who are above the elders. In my opinion, a hierarchy is the problem. Where did this come from? Is it Biblical tradition or made up by man? If it is Biblical, I would like to see where. If it is made up by man, then why and we should think it through to see if it is allowable or forbidden and in what way (if allowable) should it flesh out. I, personally, do not see any authority on earth above an elder.

I guess I have more confidence in a local church with local elders over a national denomination with national leaders (Hey, I am a theological Republican). Why? Well, because that is how God set it up. He did not set up a heirarchy in the Denomination Church. He did set up a local church. The universal exists but does not have a hierarchy exept that of God alone.

Derick
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Derick....

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]KC,

Unfortunately you admit that the Lord's Supper did take place at a meal but offered no rationale as to why to change except that you see no reason why not to change your mind, thus I believe you are making the case they are making, "It was changed" but they ask "why?". Thus you agree with their interpretation but still disagree with them without rationale. Again, their mentality is that the Biblical Status quo is at a meal (there is no specific menu in the Bible, thus there is freedom) they say if this is the status quo then others need to answer to why they change. I am not saying, personally, that what other churches do is wrong, but I do believe it is wise to think through the issue. My church does hold the Lord's Supper at a meal and I would not want to go back to the other way.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Actually, what I admitted to is that the church who met for communion also ate a meal together. There is a difference.

The ordinance of Christ is not meat, nor any other food. It is the bread and the wine. It is not the Supper if it is not this. What these others have made it is not from the Scripture but from the practice of eating a meal together, breaking bread, as it were. That is not the ordinance.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Secondly, as a former Catholic they do maintian successionisn in more ways than just proper intepretation, which is a mute point. Had I held to your mindset that you seem to hold of apostolic tradition, I would have never left the Catholic Church.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

I was not speaking about anything other than their view of Sola Scriptura, which in this case is novel on the scheme of things. And, this point is not MOOT. If it were a mute point, you wouldn't be able to hear it.:biggrin: It did not arise until the 12th and 13th centuries. Up until that time, the entire church agreed to the Scriptures plus the Apostolic tradition or regula fidei. This is true Sola Scriptura.

Solo Scriptura is believing that the light we have, whatever light that is, does not depend on the light from times past. Our new light can eclipse and even contradict accepted light. Sorry, but God did not establish His church this way. There is a rule of faith, and those who truly believe biblical doctrines hold to it.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Thirdly, I believe in the perspecuity of Scripture. It sounds like you do not believe that a common person with the Word of God can accurately study the Bible and keep from heresy.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Not at all. You are projecting what the RCC believes onto what I said. I do not not believe in a system of the church infallibly interpreting the Scriptures for masses. I do believe that the catholic church has a rule of faith that has stood the test of time and is the test of orthodoxy. Any private interpretation that is contrary to this is wrong and would essentially be "new" revelation.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]In fact, I have more faith in our common people than in those "trained". Most heresies throughout history began among the "trained" people.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

And all the people who saw these heresies for what they were, were they laypeople? Who correctly disposed of the heretics, the untrained?

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]As stated, when you deal with House Churches, I see the two strongest groups developing house churches (From a theological standpoint) are reformed or a member of the vineyard movement.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

The vineyard? Really.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Socially, the largest group I know of are those who hold to Family Integration and most of these are reformed. Thus, many of them hold to proper doctrine. Granted, there are sour apples in every bunch, even among every denomination. The issue is not whether there are bad apples but whether it is proper.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

It is not proper for anyone or any group to separate from a lawful church. They are separating because they want to do it their way. And I'm sorry, but this is division that is not warranted from Scripture.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Fourthly, you mentioned "because there was no (orthodox) church" they had to begin one (concerning the reformation). I think this statement shows our disagreement. I see the church as two entities, a local body of believers and the Universal Church. I do not see a denomination as a part of the local body nor do I see them as being the Universal. There is not a "denomination Church", local Church, and Universal Church. There is only a local and Universal church. Only these two entities the only ones in the Bible but a part of why I think the non-denominational movement is good. They are not forced to associate with apostate churches just because you happen to belong to the same denomination and they can surround themself with orthodox churches who are the local church. They see no made up group called the "Denominational Church."[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Nor do I. Their are lawful churches and unlawful churches. There are several lawful churches that just so happen to be presbyterian in form of government and form a denominational hierarchy based upon their association. Oh, BTW, they are confessional and creedal, too, so that all of their members can know what they believe.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]I would invite your definition of what makes a denomination a denomination. My definition of a denomination is as follows:

"A group of 3 or more churches who unite together around common doctrine for the purpose of fulfilling Biblical mandates and sees themselves as a denomination."[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

From dictionary.com:

1. A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.

2. One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes, as in a system of currency or weights: Cash registers have compartments for bills of different denominations. The stamps come in 25¢ and 45¢ denominations.

3. A name or designation, especially for a class or group.

Unfortunately, your point about "seeing themselves as a denomination" is not valid. They can be a denomination and not call themselves one. I was in one.

But other than that, yours and my definition meets on the same ground.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Finally, you make a distinction between sola and solo scriptura. Obvious in your statement that you add historic (apostolic) tradition in with sola scriptura.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

See my points above. Sola Scriptura, as the Reformation understood it, has always included apostolic tradition and the rule of faith. It is not an addition. You would be subtracting it.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]You stated that "...outside the rule of faith of the apostolic church." I hope you are defining the apostolic church as being that of the Bible and not just history.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Quite right. Although, why should the church not carry on? Why is it that each successive generation would have to discover the light all over again? There is nothing new in the rule of faith. Yet, each generation is either faithful to that rule, or it departs from it. In this way, we can see times in history where men have strayed, and then see times where they have stayed the course. This is healthy tradition. It is not tradition for tradition's sake. It is tradition because it has been believed and understood by each generation.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]For where history contradicts the Bible we must hold to the Bible even if council, creed, or Pope disagrees (I think this is a pretty close quote of a famous reformer).[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

No argument there.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]This is Sola Scriptura.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

I suggest you read Keith Mathison's, "The Shape of Sola Scriptura." You will find his research in this area is well documented and well written. I don't believe you truly know what Sola Scriptura is until you have read this book.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]I do not believe you can prove "anything" with the Bible. My simple response to that is, "Good, if you can prove anything with the Bible, try it and see if it can withstand cross examination and proper exegesis."[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

I'm not sure what you mean by this. What does this have to do with Sola Scriptura?

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Finally, you mentioned heirarchy. I invite your Biblical verses on this one point. In the Bible we had Elders in the local church and Apostles. I believe the Apostles no longer exist and thus this leaves Elders. I never see a group of people who are above the elders.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

In this case, Acts 15 should suffice. This was not just one Jerusalem church. It was the council of Jerusalem churches, considered to be the highest point of the hierarchy. And, it wasn't just because there were Apostles there. It says they went up to the apostles and elders there.

Also, when it had been decided, "...it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church."

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]In my opinion, a hierarchy is the problem. Where did this come from? Is it Biblical tradition or made up by man? If it is Biblical, I would like to see where.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Again, read Acts 15.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]If it is made up by man, then why and we should think it through to see if it is allowable or forbidden and in what way (if allowable) should it flesh out. I, personally, do not see any authority on earth above an elder.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

He is accountable to the group of elders to whom he submits himself. If there were no higher authority, just as there is in some churches, the elder can run roughshod and lead his people into all kinds of evil and calumny.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]I guess I have more confidence in a local church with local elders over a national denomination with national leaders (Hey, I am a theological Republican).[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

What you are talking about is not presbyterianism, it is a prelacy. Presbyterianism is not a top down hierarchy, but bottom up.

[quote:1d0f7a11ac]Why? Well, because that is how God set it up. He did not set up a heirarchy in the Denomination Church. He did set up a local church. The universal exists but does not have a hierarchy exept that of God alone.[/quote:1d0f7a11ac]

Again, see Acts 15. Another book that is helpful is Thomas Witherow's, "The Apostolic Church. Which is It?"

In Christ,

KC

[Edited on 3-24-2004 by kceaster]
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
Sorry it has taken a while for me to get back to this post but I am overwhelmed with work from my web page design business and from church.

My first point is that it is called the [b:57594e302d]Lord's Supper[/b:57594e302d] not communion, which it is never referred to as communion anywhere in the Bible. By mere fact of it's name implies it is a supper. Why call something a supper if it is not? So, my question to you, why does the Bible refer to it as a supper if it is not a supper? The mere name means it is a supper. I just want rationale for why to change it. Again, on this point I have never been given a rationale. Either it is a supper or not, but if it is not then why call it a supper?

[quote:57594e302d]
I was not speaking about anything other than their view of Sola Scriptura, which in this case is novel on the scheme of things. And, this point is not MOOT. If it were a mute point, you wouldn't be able to hear it. It did not arise until the 12th and 13th centuries. Up until that time, the entire church agreed to the Scriptures plus the Apostolic tradition or regula fidei. This is true Sola Scriptura.
[/quote:57594e302d]

I understand that there is a tradition of the Elders shown in the New Testament and the Bible. In the New Testament Jesus purposefully goes out and shows that we should not obey the tradition of the Elders. In fact, did you know in the tradition of the Elders it was strictly forbidden to heal someone on the Sabbaath and especially to heal on the Sabbath using mud made by spittle? Yet, Jesus went out of his way to break that tradition. We know from the Bible that traditions should always be measured by the Bible and when Jesus came he purposefully broke the historical interpretations of some of the laws in order to prove his point. You seem to point that if someone disagrees with how they traditionally interpreted the Bible then it is wrong. I disagree. Why? We have the same case in point with Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders and Jesus purposefully went out of his way to break the traditions and the way they extrapolated from the Bible. I am not saying reject the wisdom of the past, but that I first exegete the text then I read what others say. There are times when I break from tradition because I do not believe that proper exegesis of the text agrees with tradition. My main point on this is usually the Song of Solomon where I reject almost all of our reformed history's view of this book. Why? Because I believe they were wrong in their analysis and exegesis of this text. That is one case in point.

Jesus went out of his way and condemned the tradition of the Elders in his day. I could mention a number of occasions where this occurred in that he seemed to be saying, "I am going to break this tradition just because I can." The point Jesus is making is that clear Biblical exegesis is over any tradition... even common reformed tradition. Jesus broke the Tradition of the Elders but he did not break the Law. I too, seek to break the traditions passed down to us while staying true to the Bible. Or as one scholar pointed, if you have two authorities you will end up obeying one over the other. Usually, historically, the Bible loses out. As stated, I believe in the perspicuity of the Bible and thus I hold firm that we can properly exegete the scripture and sometimes correct wrongs of history. After all, if we call ourselves puritans and yet wear wedding bands we break the tradition of the Elders as well.

[quote:57594e302d]
And all the people who saw these heresies for what they were, were they laypeople? Who correctly disposed of the heretics, the untrained? [/quote:57594e302d]

Trained in a Seminary? Few! Trained through their time in the Word. Many. Yet, I personally believe we would be better off without cemeteries... uh, I mean seminaries.

[quote:57594e302d]
The vineyard? Really.
[/quote:57594e302d]

As I said, there are many facets to the house church movement. Yet, I know a very large vineyard church that disbanded and had all the small groups become house churches. They got rid of all their staff. I have told my church that I hope one day they get to the point and say, "Thanks for your help, you have trained us well and have appointed many Godly elders who are strong in the Word. Go and help another church."

[quote:57594e302d]
It is not proper for anyone or any group to separate from a lawful church. They are separating because they want to do it their way. And I'm sorry, but this is division that is not warranted from Scripture.
[/quote:57594e302d]

First of all, you are assuming things here that may not be true. For instance, I know of several house churches. Some of them were begun by local churches. As I tell my church, if we are not looking to planting other churches we are not looking to fulfill the Great Commission. You are assuming they are "breaking away" for a reason. Secondly, I do not equate breaking away from a church as the same thing as breaking away from a denomination. I have read Calvin's comments on the church and faithfulness to the church. Yet, I do not believe Spurgeon was in disagreement with this concept when he left his denomination. I also do not believe the PCA was wrong nor was the Bible Presbyterians wrong to leave the PC-USA. My church is doing house churches and we are not breaking away to "do it our way." These are assumptions on your part. I mentioned the one vineyard church where the church did not break away to do it their way. Yet, I will not equate a denomination ever is on the same level as the local church. Thus, if they want to break from a denomination, great! I personally believe denominations hold to more of a tradition of the Elders than others. BTW, I am creedal and confessional as well. On that, I know many house churches who are as well. Yet, the focus is that they are faithful to the Bible. You will see some house churches who hold to the Westminster (a good friend of mine is an Elder of such a church) as well as the LBC.

[quote:57594e302d]
Unfortunately, your point about "seeing themselves as a denomination" is not valid. They can be a denomination and not call themselves one. I was in one.
[/quote:57594e302d]

I will disagree in that if that were the case I would be in a denomination with many churches, in that case I guess you would assume I would not have the right to withdraw fellowship from any of them. In my communications studies major in my undergraduate, it was often seen as a part of a definition that people had to recognize their responsibility in a given group. Someone may call it one thing but there may not be that sense of loyalty or responsibility among the members.


[quote:57594e302d]
I suggest you read Keith Mathison's, "The Shape of Sola Scriptura." You will find his research in this area is well documented and well written. I don't believe you truly know what Sola Scriptura is until you have read this book.
[/quote:57594e302d]

I think that is the problem. You think reading books helps you understand Sola Scriptura, I believe it is reading the Bible that helps me understand Sola Scriptura.

One of my best friends is a Presbyterian. Every time we get into a disagreement he hands me a book. Every time I get in a disagreement with him I just show him scriptures. I could give him books but I don't have to because I believe the Bible is clear. It is kind of like the "Lord's Supper" above. I think it is clear that it is not only called the Lord's Supper (not communion) and that it is a supper. Yet, I sometimes get people going into a philosophical thought process on how we should not have it as a supper. Thus, I just say, "What does the Bible say?" If this is not Sola Scriptura then I guess I am a heretic! When I get to heaven I will just have to fall at the mercy of God thinking it is just the Bible.

I am not throwing wisdom of the past into the wind but use it to help me. Yet, I guess the I am a little naive in thinking it is just all about the Bible.

[quote:57594e302d]
In this case, Acts 15 should suffice. This was not just one Jerusalem church. It was the council of Jerusalem churches, considered to be the highest point of the hierarchy. And, it wasn't just because there were Apostles there. It says they went up to the apostles and elders there.
[/quote:57594e302d]

Why did they have to go to Jerusalem? Well, first, there is no record of Elders in Antioch at that time. Secondly, Antioch was the church plant of Jerusalem. Thus, they had to go back to the church of Jerusalem where the authority exists. They had to go to the Elders and Apostles. It is amazing that never in the entire book of the Bible do you see that once a church has a set authority of Elders do they go back to Jerusalem. I agree about Apostles holding more authority in the hierarchy but I will state that Apostles do not exist today. Elders and Apostles were supposed to handle doctrinal dispute and Antioch, who did not have appointed Elders, had to rely upon Jerusalem (the sending church) (see below for more).


[quote:57594e302d]
He is accountable to the group of elders to whom he submits himself. If there were no higher authority, just as there is in some churches, the elder can run roughshod and lead his people into all kinds of evil and calumny.
[/quote:57594e302d]

Name me one office above an Elder Biblically! I do not find it anywhere in Scripture. You mentioned Jerusalem (which is the usual response) but the fact that they went to the Elders and Apostles of the Jerusalem church is stronger evidence for me than for you. They didn't bring Elders of several churches together for this council, it was only the Elders of the Jerusalem Church. Where does accountability come today? From other churches who see another church going wayward and they try to get them back on track. If they don't come back, the other churches withdraw fellowship. Not even John the Apostle removed Diotrophese from office in III John despite him being a terrible scoundrel.

[quote:57594e302d]
What you are talking about is not presbyterianism, it is a prelacy. Presbyterianism is not a top down hierarchy, but bottom up.
[/quote:57594e302d]

That is what the Democrats call it too. I know of no denomination that is truly bottom up, not even Baptists who pride themselves in this more than any denomination.

Derick

[Edited on 3-26-2004 by Drdad]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Derick...

[quote:8c10d9c992][i:8c10d9c992]Originally posted by Drdad[/i:8c10d9c992]
Sorry it has taken a while for me to get back to this post but I am overwhelmed with work from my web page design business and from church.

My first point is that it is called the [b:8c10d9c992]Lord's Supper[/b:8c10d9c992] not communion, which it is never referred to as communion anywhere in the Bible. By mere fact of it's name implies it is a supper. Why call something a supper if it is not? So, my question to you, why does the Bible refer to it as a supper if it is not a supper? The mere name means it is a supper. I just want rationale for why to change it. Again, on this point I have never been given a rationale. Either it is a supper or not, but if it is not then why call it a supper?[/quote:8c10d9c992]

So you believe that Supper in the Scriptures equates to supper in Americanese? What! we should serve candied yams and ham steak for the Lord's Table? THIS IS NOT THE LORD'S TABLE. The bread and the wine is the Lord's Table. The meal afterwards or during or before is simply fellowship.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I understand that there is a tradition of the Elders shown in the New Testament and the Bible. In the New Testament Jesus purposefully goes out and shows that we should not obey the tradition of the Elders.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

I am not placing any eldership above the Apostles. Are we to assume that we should not follow the apostles tradition? What we see in them, we practice. It is not only Scripture, but it is practice of that Scripture. It is application of that Scripture.

And this application is universal. If it is light, it is singular light. Everyone sees it the same way, else how do we know it is from the Spirit?

[quote:8c10d9c992]In fact, did you know in the tradition of the Elders it was strictly forbidden to heal someone on the Sabbaath and especially to heal on the Sabbath using mud made by spittle? Yet, Jesus went out of his way to break that tradition.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

This was not even biblical tradition so Christ had every right to break it. The Apostles is biblical.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I am not saying reject the wisdom of the past, but that I first exegete the text then I read what others say. There are times when I break from tradition because I do not believe that proper exegesis of the text agrees with tradition.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

Then how do you know you're right? Do you just go with it? Don't you realize that you could be seeing a false light? If your interpretation is not shared by anyone, or by a few, then you have exalted your interpretation above all others. Yes, the Scriptures are supreme. But your interpretation knows no higher authority than your own. This is the logical step you take by disagreeing with orthodoxy.

[quote:8c10d9c992]My main point on this is usually the Song of Solomon where I reject almost all of our reformed history's view of this book. Why? Because I believe they were wrong in their analysis and exegesis of this text. That is one case in point.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

This is a great example. Your interpretation of the Song knows no higher authority than yourself. This is private interpretation.

[quote:8c10d9c992]Or as one scholar pointed, if you have two authorities you will end up obeying one over the other. Usually, historically, the Bible loses out. As stated, I believe in the perspicuity of the Bible and thus I hold firm that we can properly exegete the scripture and sometimes correct wrongs of history. After all, if we call ourselves puritans and yet wear wedding bands we break the tradition of the Elders as well.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

This is "new" light. And if it eclipses and shades the light of old, the test of time will prove it.

[quote:8c10d9c992]Trained in a Seminary? Few! Trained through their time in the Word. Many. Yet, I personally believe we would be better off without cemeteries... uh, I mean seminaries.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

You are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In the times you're talking about, men were actually discipled. I don't think that is the case anymore. No wonder our seminaries turn out like they do. They have men in them who have never learned the word before they got there because no one has taught them.

The people you're talking about had something better than seminary. But make no mistake, they were trained theologians, and not in a vacuum. Do you actually think they had no teachers?

[quote:8c10d9c992]As I said, there are many facets to the house church movement. Yet, I know a very large vineyard church that disbanded and had all the small groups become house churches. They got rid of all their staff. I have told my church that I hope one day they get to the point and say, "Thanks for your help, you have trained us well and have appointed many Godly elders who are strong in the Word. Go and help another church."[/quote:8c10d9c992]

I have no problem with church planting. I have no problem with churches meeting in houses. I have a problem with autonomy. I have a problem with people who leave a lawful church for no good reason other than they don't like the way things are done.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I will disagree in that if that were the case I would be in a denomination with many churches, in that case I guess you would assume I would not have the right to withdraw fellowship from any of them. In my communications studies major in my undergraduate, it was often seen as a part of a definition that people had to recognize their responsibility in a given group. Someone may call it one thing but there may not be that sense of loyalty or responsibility among the members.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

Just because a person says they are not something, if they meet all the requirements of the definition, their statement does not negate it. That would be like me saying that I am not a white anglo saxon presbyterian. Does my saying it make the definition not stand?


[quote:8c10d9c992]I think that is the problem. You think reading books helps you understand Sola Scriptura, I believe it is reading the Bible that helps me understand Sola Scriptura.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

Derick, you will never know what the church has believed outside of the Bible unless you read other books. You will have no idea how they have interpreted and applied Scripture. I don't know of any way around this.

If you want to use a term like Sola Scriptura, you can't understand it from the Bible, because it is not there in definition, but in concept. It is quite obvious that you do not care how others have defined it, or even why they, not you, coined it in the first place. You will never understand that, unless you read other books.

[quote:8c10d9c992]One of my best friends is a Presbyterian. Every time we get into a disagreement he hands me a book. Every time I get in a disagreement with him I just show him scriptures. I could give him books but I don't have to because I believe the Bible is clear.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

You are the source of contention, then. For in your relationship, your understanding of the Scriptures is placed above his. He gives you a book to show you what others have believed, not taking his own word for what the Scriptures say. You ignore that so that your interpretation is authoritative in the relationship.

I am not saying we should put away the Bible and read only other books about it. I am saying that when we come across an area of division, we cannot simply say that both versions are true. We must come to grips with the light we have been given. If we ignore that, we become supreme in our own minds.

[quote:8c10d9c992]It is kind of like the "Lord's Supper" above. I think it is clear that it is not only called the Lord's Supper (not communion) and that it is a supper. Yet, I sometimes get people going into a philosophical thought process on how we should not have it as a supper. Thus, I just say, "What does the Bible say?" If this is not Sola Scriptura then I guess I am a heretic! When I get to heaven I will just have to fall at the mercy of God thinking it is just the Bible.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

How do you know what supper means? Are you bringing nothing to the table when you read that word in Scripture? You cannot simply read Scripture with blinders and your own definitions. And, I am not saying that the Spirit does not illumine, either. His part is of the utmost importance. But is He going to tell you something different then He has told countless numbers of others? This is where you have to question your own interpretation. If you are different, you need to question. Otherwise, you are your own authority.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I am not throwing wisdom of the past into the wind but use it to help me. Yet, I guess the I am a little naive in thinking it is just all about the Bible.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

Men have built upon the foundation of Christ. They do not help you. They hold you up. You are not laying your own course by their pattern. You are building upon theirs. They do not exist because of you, you exist because of them. And all of this is built upon the Scriptures Alone.

[quote:8c10d9c992]Why did they have to go to Jerusalem?[/quote:8c10d9c992]

They went there because it was a holy council of the church at that time. It is the first council. Nicea met because of this example.

[quote:8c10d9c992]Well, first, there is no record of Elders in Antioch at that time. Secondly, Antioch was the church plant of Jerusalem. Thus, they had to go back to the church of Jerusalem where the authority exists. They had to go to the Elders and Apostles.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

You're correct. They went to the authority. Where is our authority today? In a plurality of elders in a lawful church. It is a derived authority from Scripture. We are to submit to each other and to those in authority over us. There is always some earthly authority over us. If we are pastors, we submit to our peers.

[quote:8c10d9c992]It is amazing that never in the entire book of the Bible do you see that once a church has a set authority of Elders do they go back to Jerusalem.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

This is an argument from silence. It cannot be proved or disproved.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I agree about Apostles holding more authority in the hierarchy but I will state that Apostles do not exist today. Elders and Apostles were supposed to handle doctrinal dispute and Antioch, who did not have appointed Elders, had to rely upon Jerusalem (the sending church) (see below for more).[/quote:8c10d9c992]

It pleased the apostles and the elders with the whole church. Everyone consented to it. Everyone said amen to it. The authority of this council was that it was a proper church, not merely because the apostles were present.

[quote:8c10d9c992]Name me one office above an Elder Biblically![/quote:8c10d9c992]

1 Cor. 16:15 I urge you, brethren--you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints-- 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.

Define submission, and you will see what you seek.

There is not an office above Elder. There is submission of that office to others.

[quote:8c10d9c992]I do not find it anywhere in Scripture. You mentioned Jerusalem (which is the usual response) but the fact that they went to the Elders and Apostles of the Jerusalem church is stronger evidence for me than for you. They didn't bring Elders of several churches together for this council, it was only the Elders of the Jerusalem Church.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

And do you think, that under such virulent persecution, that all of the number of those in Jerusalem met in one place, that they were one local church? How big do you think the "one" Jerusalem church was? It was, in fact, many churches.

[quote:8c10d9c992]That is what the Democrats call it too. I know of no denomination that is truly bottom up, not even Baptists who pride themselves in this more than any denomination.[/quote:8c10d9c992]

Well, sorry, but presbyterianism actually works this way. If it didn't, it wouldn't be presbyterian. We don't have a magisterium. We don't have a council of bishops. We have pastors and elders on equal footing as representatives. The authority is the whole of them, not just a few.

In Christ,

KC
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
So you believe that Supper in the Scriptures equates to supper in Americanese? What! we should serve candied yams and ham steak for the Lord's Table? THIS IS NOT THE LORD'S TABLE. The bread and the wine is the Lord's Table. The meal afterwards or during or before is simply fellowship.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

Define the Lord's Table using Scripture. Presbyterians are famous for saying that when you mention Baptism replacing circumcision that everyone knew it was to include infants. I go further to explain that when the elements are mentioned in the Bible it was understood to be around a meal (will show this later in this post). You said "This is not the Lord's Table". I invite scriptural evidence for such a use as I will for saying that the elements are a part of a supper and referred to as such.

First, how am I wrong? Rather than just saying I am wrong, show me. If I am wrong it should be rather easy for you to do such a thing using scripture.

Secondly, I Corinthians 11 deals with a problem around the meal, thus the immediate context is that this is taken in a meal. The "gar" translated "for" in verse 25 makes the context that relevant in the issue.

Thirdly, Jesus celebrated it as a meal in the Bible.

Fourthly, every mention of this word 'supper' (the same Greek word) in the Bible is a mention of a full meal. This is very consistent within the Word of God itself. In fact, some places translators make it as a feast to signify a lot of food. Here is some citations of the Greek word in various sources: 1. dinner, supper, the main meal (toward) evening. 2. (formal) dinner, banquet Mt 23:6; Mk 12:39; Lk 11:43 D; 14:17, 24; 20:46; 1 Cor 10:27 D; Rv 19:9 (A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (electronic ed. of the 2nd ed., rev. and augmented.). University of Chicago Press: Chicago).

23.25 äåé̂ðíïíb, ïõ n: the principal meal of the day, usually in the evening - 'supper, main meal.' êáὶ äåßðíïõ ãéíïìÝíïõ 'and they were at supper' Jn 13.2. (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. 1989; 1996. Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic edition of the 2nd ed.). United Bible societies: New York).

I believe I stand on strong footing in showing that the Lord's Supper is a supper. This is not only my translation but I have sited sources who agree with me and have not read any account of people disagreeing. Jewish culture, by the way, celebrated major festivals with suppers; the culture there is centered on having a nightly meal and special meals as well. Yet, the text is clear in context thus we did not need to go into this detail, but I did anyway (I believe the context is clear). The issue is not what the meal contained but that there is a meal. You seem to make it an issue of the elements of the meal... but that neither proves nor disproves my point.

Fifthly, in verse 25 of I Co 11, Paul refers to "the supper" referring back to the previous section talking about the Lord's Supper. He uses the definite article in Greek (not seen in the English NKJV) to make mention of a specific meal, the one that is the topic of the entire section, The Lord's Supper.

Finally, if I am wrong then the Bible must be used to show me differently. That is the issue. It is not my authority or just my interpretation nor is it just what you think, but what the Bible clearly states. If it is my interpretation then it would be easy to refute it. I am clearly using the Bible but you seem to be giving arguments of fallacy to try to discredit my interpretation.

Most of our other issues can be solved by looking at II Timothy 3:16-17. I believe that the Word of God is given to thoroughly equip us for every good work. You contend that we need history as well, but I believe the Bible is sufficient and should be used to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. If the Bible is not all sufficient for us today (thus we need history) then I invite your interpretation of this verse. In fact, the Bible is there to make us complete. You seem to believe that I base my interpretation as the highest... no, I base the Bible as the authority that is there to make me complete and perfect in reproving, rebuking, correcting, and instructing in righteousness. I know that the Bibles gives a strong warning to turning to anything else but the Bible as our final source (see later thoughts). And I do believe in the perspicuity of Scripture, thus I believe proper interpretation can occur by anyone and the Bible is able to make us wise to salvation. I do not believe in placing history even or above the Bible.

Thus my challenge, since the Bible is perfect to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort" then use it as such. That is what the Bible is there for (and no where in the Bible is it shown that history is to be used as such)... thus if I am wrong use the Bible to show such a thing. Even the Bereans were commended for not taking the word of any human but searching the Bible to see if what they say is correct. Whose interpretation did they use? I think your argument against me could have been used against them as well. The Bible is clear and in true study of the Word, there is only one true interpretation and all others will not withstand logical, Biblical scrutiny.


[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
I am not placing any eldership above the Apostles. Are we to assume that we should not follow the apostles tradition? What we see in them, we practice. It is not only Scripture, but it is practice of that Scripture. It is application of that Scripture.

And this application is universal. If it is light, it is singular light. Everyone sees it the same way, else how do we know it is from the Spirit?
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

That is exactly my point. The tradition of the Elders in Jesus' day was the application to the text that they saw. That is how we got the spittle reference, they saw that this was a violation of a rule (their application) and thus Jesus saw that was ridiculous and broke their application. Your logic says that our history must equal scripture but I am not so confident for that was the belief that gave us the Tradition of the Elders in Jesus' day. We know something is from the Spirit by the Bible. The practice of Scripture is clear in the Bible itself, not any man made item, which is the lesson Jesus taught when he went against the Tradition of the Elders. They had a "practice" they used to expand upon the Bible and Jesus clearly condemned it.

Secondly, the Apostle's tradition in the Bible is Biblical, but tradition since the Bible may or may not be Biblical. For instance, within a very short time (just a few years) after the last book of the Bible was written, we have record of a Bishops being separate from Elders. This was the case for most of Christian history. History, though, was wrong. How do we know if what we practice today is Biblical or not? The Bible alone and God has given us the Bible for that purpose (II Timothy 3:16-17). A Pharisee in Jesus' day thought their practice was Biblical and could quote the verses to support their ideas. They took the verse and made application to it in ways that was wrong. In fact, the same argument existed then, they looked at Jesus and said, "He is breaking the Tradition of the Elders." We might say, "He is breaking the tradition of the Church." We know if it is Biblical by the Bible alone and the Bible tells us this is the criteria. Jesus clearly showed the problem of relying upon the Tradition of anything other than the Bible. Guess what, Jesus used the Bible to also show them their wrongs (yet, he was also the walking word). Jesus did not rely upon tradition to prove them wrong but on the Bible alone, for Paul said that was what the Bible was written for and the interpretation of the Elders did not stand up to the evidence of scripture.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
Then how do you know you're right? Do you just go with it? Don't you realize that you could be seeing a false light? If your interpretation is not shared by anyone, or by a few, then you have exalted your interpretation above all others. Yes, the Scriptures are supreme. But your interpretation knows no higher authority than your own. This is the logical step you take by disagreeing with orthodoxy.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

The Bible and His Spirit are sufficient enough to teach us all things we need to know (II Timothy 3:16-17). We were commanded to be "watchful of ALL things" (II Timothy 4:5). We were not to be watchful of everything except history, but of all things (I do believe all in this context is referring to everything outside the Bible. We were to test them from the Bible, not tradition, to see if they were true. Praise God the Bereans tested it by the Bible alone. God did not say, "I will set up an apostolic tradition" for if the Bereans looked at the Tradition of the Elders, they would have concluded wrongfully. In fact, Jesus himself shows us the problem with the tradition of the Elders. How clearly you make the Word of God a servant to the interpretations of fallible man. If all we need to know is written by history then let's give up our Bibles. If all we need to know has already been explored, then the Bible is limited. I am not saying there are new things, but I am saying that man is fallible, the Bible is not, and we should study it to show ourselves approved. History does not make us thoroughly equipped, it is only the Bible.

Your reasoning is also circular. You state that history has shown that history's interpretation is a part of Sola Scriptura. Thus, you are relying upon the same source to say that history is authoritative. This is circular and faulty logic. It would be like me saying, "This article is a great source for your paper." You look at the paper and see that I am the author of that article. The Bible does not state such a position for history. Thus, I must reject circular reason.

My interpretation knows no higher authority than the Bible. As Luther said, "Unless you can convince me by the Bible and not Council, nor Pope, nor creed, I am bound to my conscience." God gave us the Holy Spirit for this very reason-to teach. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches us and guides us. Granted, I will be wrong in some areas of my theology, but so will you. God also believes the Bible to be easy enough to properly interpret by anyone and has allowed that to be so with the Bereans and all who read it.

As mentioned, though, we should use the wisdom of the ages and rationally evaluate it. We should heed to wisdom but there are many cases where I see they were wrong.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
This is a great example. Your interpretation of the Song knows no higher authority than yourself. This is private interpretation.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

First, can you show me where I am wrong using the Bible, which is given to correct?

Second, I do have historical precedence. It actually fits more in line with Jewish thought that our reformers ignored and many modern reformers have ignored. It hasn't been until recently have people begun to revisit this book and reconsider it trying to place it within a Jewish context and mentality rather than the reformers. I believe the ancient Jews were more right about this book than our reformers.

As stated, I believe the principles of logic and reason are universal and I believe using them will help lead one in finding the right solutions.

You see, you think I am wrong because I disagree with reformation history. You would rather say I am wrong than deal with the text or the issues. My authority is solely upon the Bible. And yes, I believe in the perspicuity of the Bible, which you seem to be denying because you don't believe God can logically show someone the truth or that this truth can disagree with other fallible men. Can someone be blinded? Yes. On the major issues of orthodoxy and heresy I contend that history is proven correct in the reformed perspective. On other issues, I do not.

You call what I do as "new light". I guess that is where we differ. I am saying through much research and study of the Bible that this is not new light but what the Bible states and that man corrupted through the years. If I disagree with a vast majority of history, trust me, I go through everything twice and make sure of my findings and try to see if there is anywhere I could be wrong. In fact, I am more critical of my views if I am going against history. Yet, I do not look at history as the final authority, I look at the Bible who is perfect in making men complete.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
The people you're talking about had something better than seminary. But make no mistake, they were trained theologians, and not in a vacuum. Do you actually think they had no teachers?
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

Actually, I think seminary is a vacuum. My philosophy on religious education is this: There are two lies of the devil, one is that you need formal education the other is that you do not need any education. I believe most of seminary education is inappropriate for most. Now, I have done much post graduate work and so I am not entirely against it but I am not always for it either. Yes, I probably will get my Ph.D., but I may not. I do believe they had teachers but I also believe seminary education is sometimes a terrible thing. Personally, I think education should be in a local church not some place divorced from the local church. The local church should be the center of education otherwise you do get yourself into a vacuum.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
I have no problem with church planting. I have no problem with churches meeting in houses. I have a problem with autonomy. I have a problem with people who leave a lawful church for no good reason other than they don't like the way things are done.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

Even if the church is teaching things contrary to the Bible? I have no problem with autonomy as mentioned before about Diotrophese and the issues surrounding this issue. It did not seem that the Elders took him out of power but they did caution people to avoid Diotrophese.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
Derick, you will never know what the church has believed outside of the Bible unless you read other books. You will have no idea how they have interpreted and applied Scripture. I don't know of any way around this.

If you want to use a term like Sola Scriptura, you can't understand it from the Bible, because it is not there in definition, but in concept. It is quite obvious that you do not care how others have defined it, or even why they, not you, coined it in the first place. You will never understand that, unless you read other books.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

Yet, if you believe something you better be ready to defend using the Bible alone. I do read books and see where the arguments are but no book will convince me of the validity of an argument. The Bible alone convinces me of an argument. I became reformed because I read the Bible not because I read books. Books directed my research but they were not the reason. I have a great friend who is a Presbyterian Pastor, and his focus was on the Bible not books and he convinced me of the reformed perspective. Why? It is clear in the Bible. Yet, it is the Bible we spend most of our time studying.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]

You are the source of contention, then. For in your relationship, your understanding of the Scriptures is placed above his. He gives you a book to show you what others have believed, not taking his own word for what the Scriptures say. You ignore that so that your interpretation is authoritative in the relationship.

I am not saying we should put away the Bible and read only other books about it. I am saying that when we come across an area of division, we cannot simply say that both versions are true. We must come to grips with the light we have been given. If we ignore that, we become supreme in our own minds.

[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

You are reading more into this that you should. I did read his books. Yet, my point is that he should go and spend more time giving me the Bible verses than the books, for only the Bible is perfect in reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.

[quote:6a8f5c87bc]
And do you think, that under such virulent persecution, that all of the number of those in Jerusalem met in one place, that they were one local church? How big do you think the "one" Jerusalem church was? It was, in fact, many churches.
[/quote:6a8f5c87bc]

You are reading into the text and arguing from silence. The word used is a singular church not plural. Secondly, many scholars throughout history saw that there was only one church per city and that was the mentality of the early church. They took a collection for the church in Jerusalem, not the churches. Thus, the Elders were over the house meetings that met from house to house because of persecution. We do not know how many of the people remained in Jerusalem after Pentecost and how many scattered in persecution, so we do not know the numbers of the church in Jerusalem.

Secondly, I Corinthians 16:15, in context they said "everyone who works and labors with us." The issue was not about submission in ecclesiastical form. Charles Hodge states concerning this passage, "The exhortation is, that ye also submit yourselves to such. "As they serve you, do you serve them." Nothing is more natural than submission to the good" Matthew Henry seems to point out something very similar to what Charles Hodge stated but more wordy. Matthew Poole states it is more of an idea of reverencing him. The word in the Greek can be used either way. Considering in context that all those who are with Paul and labor with him should be treated like this, I do not think it is referring to all Elders and submission. He did not single out "every elder".

I do not doubt there are times when people must submit to their elders and that Elders are given honor, but I do doubt this is referring to what you are trying to say it is referring to.

I am enjoying this discussion. Despite the disagreement, it is strengthening.

Soli Deo Gloria

Derick R. Dickens :bouncing:
 
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