Saturday, April 14, 2007

Re: Sermonizers

Dear B,
I thought you had called it quits but am glad to know that you believe in having the last word. I am sorry but I never called you a bad guy. I will bless anyone who is helping to fulfill the Great Commission.
 
My only dispute is the methodology. The Western model has failed to produce even 1% Christianity in many places in the last 2000 years and so we need to look at the reasons for the failure and not perpetuate any system regardless. Imposing a cognitive, analytical, print culture on a largely non-literate oral culture is destined for failure. Jesus was master story teller and he taught nothing without parables (Math. 13:34). Trying to upstage Him is a road to disaster as the last few centuries have proved beyond doubt.
 
I never said that the Jewish pulpit was seven feet wide. All I said that it was wide enough to accommodate the scrolls. However, pulpit was never part of the structure of the first century NT church. Your statement that Jesus became a sinner because he went to the illegal synagogue or spoke from the pulpit or when he associated with the publicans or the sinners. This is not circular thinking or lateral thinking nor logical thinking. It is just crazy. It shows how far an intellectual will go to protect his turf.
 
We do not have to go to Islam to find the divide and rule and eventually burn them at the stake and even conduct genocide in the name of religion. Throughout the centuries, the pulpit/pew divide has done more damage to Christendom than any other heresy. Sadly it continues to do the same.
 
No doubt your sending Western Academia to the underdeveloped, underprivileged, non-literate people is being done with the best intentions. But good intentions are assumptions, not based on any evidence and therefore not necessarily the right paradigm. Constantine changed the NT church with the best of intentions, but the result was an apostate church.
 
Paul went to Athens and studies heathen literature to tell the pagan intellectuals that the God that he was talking about was already in their literature. They thought that he had come to tell them about a foreign God. Our people go to the West to study Western theology which has failed even in their own country, instead of studying the Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist literature. It is amazing how much one true God and Jesus exists in their books who can be used as bridge, about which most Indian theologians are ignorant. Instead Jesus continues to suffer the stigma of a foreign God. A Western trained Indian or Chinese or an African  theologian is as misfit in his own culture as a  cat among the pigeons as he is trained to exploit them. He would run with his tails between his legs if he was confronted with a person of another faith.
 
Western systematic theology was designed to produce generations of bookish debaters who imagined that high quality lectures and reading will save the world. Just the opposite has happened. The traditional American churches are experiencing a free fall into oblivion and the European churches have nose dived into post-Christian decadence. Why export and dump a product on the unsuspecting third world when it is not working in your own culture. They do not need to hear great sermons from the West but stories from their own culture as to how a simple housewife in a remote village, suffered incarceration in a jail for her faith and is now transforming entire communities. Something that local people can relate to and replicate. Ability to replicate is the essence of the Bride. Sadly, theologians are trained to giddy academic heights to stop all debate. It is awe inspiring to debate with people holding high theological degrees.  
 
Jesus' method was life driven, spontaneous, dialogical and practical which instantly transformed lives of the sinners. The aim of  education is not just acquiring vast knowledge but resonating with the will of God, which is to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus chose illiterate Peter and sent a strong signal to the future church, the kind of leadership  He would like to recruit, who would change the world. 
 
I have never met Rick warren nor have read his book, the Purpose Driven Church". Recently his team was here and trained 27,000 people in many cities of India. I am glad that he is kicking the butts of those sitting in the pews of the ivory towers and making them goal oriented and purpose driven. I do  not know of any other enterprise other than the church, which is so goalless and purposeless. It certainly does not know that it must have an operational strategy for reaching the last Gentile on earth. Because of the shoddy performance of the church, millions of people are languishing in hell. The church exists to transform the meanest rascals, scoundrels and ignoramuses into saints. Unfortunately the ministers insist on sermonizing to death (literally) those fruitless and barren Christians who are already in the pews, which does not necessarily mean that they are saved, because we shall not be known by our knowledge nor by our righteousness, which is like filthy rags, but by our fruitfulness.
 
Dear B. I can sense the edifice that you have built upon the foundations of academic excellence crumbling. Instead of protecting the turf and being possessed by a territorial spirit, why  not consider looking outside the box and make a new beginning, just as I did. My humble suggestion is that you start your own house church and share the excitement, challenge, her fruitfulness and the ripple effect resulting in spontaneous  multiplication of disciples and churches. All you need to do is to fulfill the qualities of head and heart mentioned for elders in Titus 1:5-9 to acquire sound doctrine, resulting in a fruitful house church. It also requires megashift from sermons to reasoning, persuasion and dialogue (Acts 17:2,3; 18:4). Return to the simplicity of the first century church module does not mean returning to icons, candles and oracles but to the original edifice established on the foundations laid by apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), which was the most successful model ever.
 
Small church does not necessarily mean cultic church with heresies. Wherever two or three gather in His name, it is an authentic church with all the authority, knowledge, wisdom and power because He is present.  What is more that He blessed this little church and said, "Fear not little flock, for it has pleased the Father to give you the kingdom" Luke 12:32.  Remember mega churches perpetrate mega heresies.  
 
We need to plant modules which merge with the local culture and resonate with the will of God. For this the local fivefold ministry gifted equippers are Biblically the most competent persons mandated by the Lord Himself. (Eph. 4:11-13)
Shalom,
V.
----- Original Message -----
From: brain
To:
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: Sermonizers

I am simply trying to follow my savior, to draw closer to Him each day.  I accuse not and try to spread His Gospel in love.  The Materials I am sharing are sites with much information and materials for the discipleship of the saints.  Edibles, search programs, Encyclopedias, dictionaries, outlines, Sunday School Programs and Outlines, videos, tapes, movies.  Also materials on CD and DVD. You have never seen any of them...how can you call them pollution.  You judge me saying I belong to the apostate church, was saved at a heretical pulpit, am a polluter of the true church, product of the traditional church, and therefore have zero tolerance for dissent; promoter of sermonizers, seems I am an all round bad guy.
I am told in Paul's Epistles to avoid vain disputations, and to simply say nay and yea yea.
Any understanding I have of the New Testament you have attempted to undermine and you complain when I want to withdraw from this destructive dialogue.  Because I do not agree I am in the way and therefore Anathema.
 
In North America the Emerging/Emergent Church is propagated by Rick Warren and the other gurus of post-modernism.  In many churches where this doctrine has spread members of long standing have been asked to leave, for their opposition to this movement.  No dialogue, no understanding.  Calvary Chapel has issued several statements and teaching on the matter, as it has split their Movement.  I am in contact throughout the world with other Christians and see the damage and harm that this is doing to the cause of Christ.  The Emergent Church has much in common  with the methods of Islam, divide and conquer, no beheadings but it seems to be only a matter of time.  I believe they are the path to Rome and the Apostate Church of the False Prophet and the Antichrist and eventually the Evangelical remnant will be martyred by them.  Read Revelation it is full of the world Church.
He has taken paraphrased versions of the Bible which butcher the meaning and spirit of the word and supplanted the proper versions which are true to the original autographs.  People will use these diminished versions as the standard thus devaluing and undermining the word of God.
 
A return to the Primitive Church means throwing out all substantive teaching and replacing it with candles, darkness, stations, icons, statues, contemplative prayer.  You don't seem to get it.
This is a promotion of form over substance, experience over the word. (not elite academia)
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.  If this is traditional then I plead guilty and also plead the blood.  It is the only plea I have.  I am not a Denominationalist I am simply a Christian....that is why I had an initial attraction to the House Church Movement.  That seems to have evaporated.
The Church is the Body of Christ, hidden in all denominations and Movements....it is not a thing made by Man, but nurtured by Christ through the Holy Spirit.  No one has the inside track on truth, We ALL see through a glass darkly.  The one barrier to Truth is to believe you already possess 100% of it.  I have quoted these truisms several times.
 
The other reason I have for withdrawing is that you use circular reasoning and proof texts to rationalize your dogma.  When I pointed out that Christ spoke and taught from a pulpit in the Synagogue you said the synagogue was illegal and that the pulpit was 7 feet wide.  If this negates the historical example I gave you then Christ sinned because he tolerated and accepted an illegal building to teach in...this negates His teaching and indeed it can be argued that He sinned.  He DID NOT SIN.  You said that the pulpit was 7 feet wide and up to 7 teachers were called upon to teach.  Should we then widen our pulpits to comply to NT standards and have (7) more pastors/evangelists/teachers?  He taught from a pulpit.(incontrovertible)  He was the only one mentioned in the text at that time and location.   I don't care if it was 700 feet wide...it was that wide to accommodate the scroll of the Pentateuch and two members stood on each side of the scroll to roll it to the pertinent text.   God says to hide His word in your heart, to put on the Full amour of God and to study to show yourself approved.  God gave His word that we might read it, study it, learn it, digest it and live it.  If you consider my efforts to help others to do this, as pollution,  then you may take it up with God.  He was the one to give me the vision and the opportunity to do this.  If you are against this then who am I to listen to..God's word and that which He puts and confirms in my heart or You.
 
You may try to undermine, scar and deconstruct "the church" but God says that no weapon formed will prosper against it.  Numbers and popularity are not God's way...He always works through a remnant.
Results oriented are of the world not of God.  I never promoted or supported Televangelists...I have much against many of them.  God works more with one on one than He does with these men but I simply used examples of the manifold way that God is disseminating His word in the World.
Every conceivable method is going forth.  From the Internet to books, from tapes to telephone from radio to computer programs.  I support any of the methods God uses and judge the methods of men by how the align with the word of God.  Newness of itself is not rightness and there have been many movements, in the past, that have slipped into heresy and cultism.  I take the Bible seriously, and have a childlike faith, I belong to the Berea's in North America (to search the word daily)  Study the term Berea.
 
I do not know what "works" or is practical in India and I have said repeatedly I would not presume to tell you how to go about your business.  It seems that you hold no similar reserve but would presume to tell me how to believe, and to practice my time honored faith, which you describe as a pollution. Then you are surprised when I do not want to discuss further any subject or to fellowship with you.
 
There is no fellowship no discussion, you put forward extreme and undermining positions that I do not care to go further with, as they destroy, deconstruct, seek to supplant faith.  I have no accusation against you, it just seems to me you seek to pull down and replace with a system that is not biblical and makes immature and disciples weak in the word.   I can simply wish and pray that God give you a double portion of His grace, that His truth shine upon you and that He enlighten you to all His ways and reveal any error that might be in you.  I also pray the same for me, that He create in Me a clean heart, and that I can stand before Him with a holy life (his holiness)
 
My only motivation left in my life is to stand before Him one day and hear "Well done good and faithful servant".  Final note.  If we were making some progress towards understanding or acceptance, or the love of Christ was shining through our communication then I would continue.  We are making no progress on the understanding or acceptance and the Love of Christ seems to be sparse.  God forgive us.   We seem to be at an impasse and have retreated into entrenched positions.  All that remains is to beg your leave and to agree to disagree.  This I believe is the third time I have written this.
 
I send you the Love that is Christ Jesus, and pray that His peace be upon you and your flock and take your leave praying that the Lord will one day enlighten us all with His wonderful Truth in Perfect understanding.  That will not be until His Kingdom come, and in the mean time I hope that we can pray for each other in the spirit according to His will.  I  graciously decline the book you offered, would it not be a form of sermonizing...your sermonizing or indoctrination.  I have over 2000 volumes at home and a further 4000 on disk and hard disk.   I have a very busy schedule for study and reading. It would simply gather dust.  Since I cannot be of service in any manner I will close our relationship and communication and ask you to not answer this email and  continue our vain disputations.  I cannot say it has been a pleasure, for it would not be the truth, I have been grieved in my spirit, and to continue to allow this would be wrong.
 
In God's Great Love,
 
Brian WE. Brown

1 comment:

Brent said...

Victor,

How does a teacher equip the saints for the work of the ministry in a house church setting?
I wholeheartedly agree that dialog, reasoning, and questions are all necessary for effective learning, and that a monologue often leaves people with the same unanswered questions and doubts for years, and if the speaker erres no-one can correct him. I also know that people can learn from the thoughts and experiences of other saints if only they were allowed to speak.
However, I still have difficulty understanding how someone gifted as a teacher can use that gift to equip the church in a house church setting. In the house church I visited, each person was able to bring a thought or need to share, and the group discussed it. It was refressing. In this setting the best thing a teacher could do is keep his mouth shut and let people work out the answer for themselves - stepping in only occationally. If the teacher was ever percieved as the guru with all the answers it would kill the whole dynamic and learning would actually decrease. I can understand that. I also understand that people can learn by seeing the Word of God modeling in the lives of those around them. But I can't help wonder how new believers would come to know the Bible if it is not taught directly - or asked another way, what is the role of the teacher in a house church?