Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Re: Sermonizers

 
Dear B,
My first journey back in mid-sixties to Ireland was a memorable one. I went by train from London to Hollyhead which reached there about 2 AM. To my utter dismay all the Irish men started running to the waiting ferry. Being an Indian and running to get a seat in the train was quite normal thing for me. So I thought may be there are not enough seats so I also ran only to find  that most of the seats empty and I could comfortably stretch out. The Irish men had been to running desperately to get a seat by the bear bar.
 
I am glad you are studying the emergent church. By the way it is the original model. 
The wide Bema or what you call pulpit in the Synagogue was used for spreading out the scrolls. Not one but several elders, sometimes as many  as seven, not necessarily scholars were called to encourage. People were free to ask questions as it happened with Paul in every synagogue. However, Synagogue was an illegal structure never mandated by God. It also discriminated against women where they were herded behind the curtains to avoid eye contact with men. Jesus wrecked that system by making a bent up woman to stand, right up front. In fact every time he went to the synagogue or the temple, He specialized in reinterpreting the scriptures, deforming their traditions and decentralized the stranglehold of the rulers of the synagogues and the temple. The last time he went to the temple, he took a whip with him and caused a havoc. Can you give me one good reason why Jesus should reject all the brilliant scholars at the temple and go the lakeside to choose illiterate fishermen and tax collectors as His disciples? That is because He was looking for world changers and not pulpit performers. What William Carey said on the pulpit did not change any thing. What he did outside the box changed every thing.  He was a practitioner and not just a scholar. Scholars do not change anything, especially pulpit scholars because they are preaching to the converted. What use is a doctor to the healthy?
 
The modern day pulpit is the gift of the pagan Greco/Roman temples. The heathen priest or priestess when possessed by the evil spirits would climb up wearing diaphanous white gowns to proclaim oracles from the top of the pulpitum. The devotees would lap up these words as the very prokerusso or proclamations of the deity. Not very different from what we have today. Martin Luther shifted the pulpit from the back of the Catholic church to the Center and raised its height to emphasize his "Sola Scriptura". He called the church the "Mundhouse" or the "house of speech" instead of house of prayer for all nations. What a caricature.
 
The reformation that Martin Luther brought about was only a theological reformation, "Salvation by grace through faith and not through church structure" which was greatly resented by the Catholic church. What the Lord is doing today is a structural reformation. All the extrabiblical structures like the Sunday worship, the buildings, the pastor, tithing, the seminaries and the theological platitudes dished down from the pulpits are being junked out of the window and instead a refreshing wind is blowing where everyone and I repeat, everyone, whoever is led by the Spirit can freely profess and practice.
 
The beauty of the NT church is that non-Christians can also participate as they feel free to come to the intimate environment of a friend's house and be prayed for. He will not go any where near a denominational church and even if he did go and ask some questions, then a couple of bouncers will promptly show him the way out. But the truth is that His house is house of prayer for "all nations" which includes, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and other hurting people and not just for rotting pew potatoes who are programmed to do nothing, the rest of the week. In contrast, the VIP in the interactive house church is not the clergy but the seeker who by the time the meeting is over will "fall down and say truly God is among you". This is the reason why "the NT church grew in faith and in numbers daily." The modern church does not have reproductive DNA and is condemned to stagnation while the chemistry of the NT church is programmed for healthy growth and multiplication. The Bride must reproduce herself until "the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea". (MK 11:17; 1Cor. 14:23-25; Acts 2:47; 16:5; Hab. 2:14).
 
The problem with a formally theologically trained person is that he has to unlearn so many things before he can loose his arrogance and become an effective Christian just like Paul had to. "Lest anyone should boast". 
 
Thank you for comparing me with rebellious Korah and yourself as Moses, the law giver. I have been called worse things.
 
Shalom,
V.

 
Subject: Sermonizers

> Dear Victor,
 
Appealing to my Irish chauvinism will not accomplish much, yes I was once a hard drinking two fisted man, fond of the bottle and the battle.  You see I back-slid from the faith I once had but God had not finished with me and he brought me back to His kingdom kicking and screaming, a chastised prodigal.  I now humbly thank Him and praise His Holy name for the mercy and grace He showed to me, for I was worthy of death.
 
I have started a study on "the Emerging/emergent church" and the House Church seems to embrace some of the characteristics of this movement.  Form over substance, experience over the word.  I do not accuse you of this it is simply and impression.  The Postmodern/ post-Evangelical movement seeks to reinterpret scripture, the role of the church, and the form of the Gospel.  It seeks to Deform Christianity.  It seeks to decentralize the church, forming the people in a circle rather than in a church with a pulpit, and embraces all theology since it has not been emphatically decided which version is correct.  Systematic Theology is thrown out and the New testament in baby language is the norm.  Difficult parts of the Bible such as homosexuality, icons and divorce, abortion and the role of women in the church are not taught or even considered.  An anaemic watered down pseudo-gospel is the dish of the day.  Paul says "Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel"...and again" woe unto
 them who preach another gospel".
 
I have done a mini-study on preaching/teaching, pastors/bishops/elders and deacons.  I will not do an extensive layout of my findings but give you some so that you may conduct a similar investigation.
 
Nicolaitans....No uniform belief in the foundational meaning of the term but a few are put forward.
 1. Nicolas of Antioch named in Acts 6:5 (deacons) headed a group who shared wives and did very sinful things.  Nicolas himself did not participate in these things they simply used his name for the group.
 2. According to Dr Lightfoot...Nicolah is the word for Let us eat...referring to the practise of eating meat offered to idols, which is idolatry and an abomination to God.
 3. A later and less widely held view is Nicolaitan  Nico - to rule  Laitan - (over) laity  acceptable and fits in some measure to the scripture. The application is used to describe what happened in the Early Church after Constantine when the Clergy took the role of rulers over their congregations and the Papacy became prevalent.  Later types were the confessional, the Inquisition and Excommunication.
 
Pulpit/Dais....In every synagogue there was a stand or Pulpit.  It was on a platform four or five feet above the main floor.  At on end (towards Jerusalem) was a chest with the Books of the Law in it and the Platform was in the middle of the building.  The building was higher than the surrounding buildings and sometimes open to the air.  The leader of the Synagogue was elected by the congregation and he would ask learned men to address the people and expound on the Law.  The Primary function of the Synagogue was teaching.  The House of prayer was The Temple.  Worship was a secondary function in the synagogue. Jesus was asked to teach in the synagogue by various leaders and he would mount the platform and teach from the pulpit.

 Matt 8:54; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:15; 4:16-22; John 18:20. The Apostles also addressed the synagogue from the pulpit  Acts 8:5,15; 14:1,17:10-11; 17:17;18:19. Reference Manners and Customs of the Bible James Freeman /Logos International
 
Preach: Outline of the terms used.
 kerusso       (G2784) to preach or proclaim
 euaggelizo   (G2097) to preach the gospel
 diaggello      (G1229) to herald thoroughly
 laleo            (G2980) preach, say, utter
 kataggello    (          ) declare, shew, teach
 prokerusso   (G2605) herald
 dialegomai    (G1256) say thouroughly. discuss, argue, reason speak.
 
Teach:
 didasko      (G1321) teach
 matheteuo  (G3100) become a pulpit Matt 28:19
 kataggello   (G2605) to proclaim
 kataykheho (G2596) to indoctrinate (catechize)
 didaktikos   (G1317) to instruct (apt to teach)
 
As you can see the wright of the meaning is clear.  Dialegomai is used only once in Acts and I have researched the word and commentators say it is like a lawyer making a closing remark or summary...he argues his case.  This is the meaning of it in plain and normal use and is hardly a peg to hang such a heavy hat of doctrine to anathematize the pulpit and preaching when Christ taught in the Synagogues as did the Apostles (from a pulpit) 
 
William Carey you said was a translator...His sermon "Christians obligation to Evangelize the Heathen" is the "Magna Carta" of the Missionary Movement.  He is not well known for his sermons but two of his sermons are famous.  He started 102 schools in India some of which still exist, he translated the Bible into 40 Indian dialects and languages, He taught, lobbied and preached against immolation of wives and the legislature outlawed it on his real work.  Was His pulpit a Heresy, was Christs, was Paul's?
 
I leave you with two scriptures one single and the other a group.
 
Jude 1:11 Beware of the Gainsaying of Kore (Korah)  Kore as you know spoke against Moses in the wilderness.  The gainsaying was rebellion against the magistrates and order in Israel.  Jude uses it to warn against gainsaying against (rebellion) against the ministers of the Gospel.  Touch not mine anointed God declares.
 
Scripture found while studying this subject.
 2Ti 4:2; 1Ti 3:2; 1 Cor 4:17 ; Acts 5:42 ; 1 Ti 4:11 ; 1 Ti 6:2 ; 2 Ti 2:24 ; 1 Cor 15:11 ; Heb 5:12 ; Heb 8:11
 Matt 10;7,27 ; Matt 11:1 ; Mark 16:15 ;  Luke 4:18 ; Acts 10:42 ; Acts 15:21; Rom 1:15 ; Rom 10:15;
 1 Cor 9:16
 Acts 4:31 ; Acts 8:4 ; Acts 13:5 ; Acts 13:49 ; Acts 15:35,36 ; Acts 18:11 ; Rom 10:17 ; Gal 6:6 ; Col 3:16; 2 Cor 9:5 ; 1 Thess 4:1 ; 1 Thess 5:14 ; 6:2 ; Tit 1:9.
 
One thing I must agree with you is that Billy Graham has gone off the rails...he embraces Rome and uses methods that are bewildering.  I simply referred to his mega organization as a counterpoint to the work of the Holy Spirit in Converting.  Bonnke in Africa sometimes speaks to 2 million or more at a time.  Many are existing Christians...before he went to the area there were few and now there are millions.  Many workers are needed and resources to water and fertilize the seed he has sown as it is in shallow earth indeed.
 God the Holy Spirit works in manifold and wondrous manners to spread the gospel and bring multitudes to God's saving Grace.  There is no one method that is paramount..that was my point and we cannot teach or stand against any method He might use unless we are absolutely certain that it is not of the Holy Spirit.
 How do we know it is not of the Spirit....it will not agree with the word of God.  I may not agree with all your teaching and the position you hold Victor but I stand with you til death to support what you are doing.  I am sure it is of the Spirit and as I do not know all of God's ways I will not condemn it in any form.  You are in alignment with the Word on the core beliefs and I stand and support you on that.  On the peripheral points I am not in agreement and some of them grieve me but we will have to agree to disagree.  We do indeed see through a glass darkly....but I praise God and eagerly await the day when we will see Him for what He is and then He shall set all things in order.  We serve a wonderful saviour, Glory be His wonderful name.
 
I pray for you organization,, your 1st generation Christians (whom I am not against) your leaders your safety, your growth in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that He will keep you until that great day when we shall see Him.  God Bless and keep you.
 
In God's great Love.
 
 
B
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