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114 Responses

  1. monax says:

    “The church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the church becomes something very different. We must always keep the church under the Word.” ~D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    “The only standard by which the church can be judged is Scripture itself. The true church really has only one mark: the Word of God. . . . The Word and the Word alone is truly the soul of the church.” ~Herman Bavinck (Reformed Dogmatics; 2011 John Bolt ed)

  2. London says:

    Learning CPR today.

  3. I wonder what will get preached more this weekend in local churches?
    1.) “There is a forgiveness of sins,”
    2.) “Your sins are forgiven.”

  4. Got up early this morning to beat the heat. Went to Wall Doxey State Park to walk the dogs around the lake. Took some Pictures and put them up on my photoblog, the last three posts two with multiple pics.

    http://slantedview.tumblr.com/

  5. Jeff Hensley says:

    Could use some prayer here as. I’m the senior pastor a a church and I just found out a family left our church a month or so ago. We’ve grown to the point that you don’t notice till its too late it seems. The wife was upset about something I said somewhere and wrote me off from that point on. Of course, I have no idea what. God forbid anyone actually give you the opportunity to explain or repent. That would be Biblical, for gosh sakes. Tried to contact them but they ignore it. Not much I can do but let them be and pray for them. But as frustrating as that is for me, this stuff wears on my wife big time. She is at a place where she is really reluctant to invest in new relationships at the church at all because she says all her relationships are always dependent on how good of a job I do. If I don’t perform to their expectations, they leave. I understand how she feels that way, and frankly, in many cases, she’s right. It sucks. No, its sinful. But its what people do. Maybe you’ve been or are in the same position, or maybe you understand. Most don’t, but this job is so hard on my wife sometimes.

    I’ll say this though with boldness and great conviction: Christians end relationships WAY too quickly and easily. Maybe its due to social media. Maybe its due to rampant consumerism. Maybe its other things. But few allow for and practice repentance. Instead, most get offended too easily and end relationships, which in no way reflects the love of God toward us. I grow weary of those who celebrate the benefits of the gospel for themselves and extend none of those same benefits to others.

  6. monax says:

    sincere prayers, Jeff Hensley, for you and your wife and the congregation you pastor.

  7. Jeff, I hear you, and will be praying for you. I’m not a senior pastor, but I’ve seen closely exactly what you’re talking about. Praying God will provide for you and your wife some Godly, lasting relationships within your church body.

  8. Hardest single key to church life is relationships.

  9. Xenia says:

    Dear Pastor Jeff,

    I am very sorry to hear about his.

    Everyone, listen up: Here’s a pastor and his wife who have been hurt by a parishioner. Not the other way around, as we talk about here endlessly. No doubt, these parishioners imagines themselves to have been abused in some fashion by Pastor Jeff. Sure, there are extremely egregious situations like the SGM story but I am going to go out on a limb here and declare with some confidence that more pastors and their families are hurt by parishioners than the other way around. And people wonder why pastors and their wives seem a little remote and distant.

    How often have I heard people say “Pastor So-and-So taught thus-and-so last Sunday, I can’t abide this, there’s no point trying to talk to him about it, I’m leaving, good-bye.” This is mean-spirited and hurts people. This is how I left CC and I regret it. I don’t think a conversation with the Sr. Pastor would have amounted to a hill of beans in my case but it would have been the right thing to do. Common courtesy, if nothing else.

    People don’t get their way, think all churches are democracies, think freedom of speech applies everywhere, don’t like following rules and when they are opposed scream “abuse” and stomp off. This is why I no longer believe anyone’s story about church abuse unless I hear from either both sides or hear the same story from numerous sources.

  10. Xenia says:

    And when a person realizes they treated their former pastor shabbily, how many go back to him and apologize?

  11. I quit trying to understand people’s behavior quite some time ago.

  12. Michael says:

    Jeff is a personal friend…I know him and one of his elders and they have both been kind and supportive to me.
    Miss seeing him once a week at Costco. 🙂

  13. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    You spoke more wisdom there than we would like to admit…

  14. Jeff Hensley says:

    Miss you too, Michael. we should have lunch sometime

  15. Ricky Bobby says:

    I love that you guys have a Food Pantry Jeff. Good for you.

    Grew up a PK, but in the opposite dynamic. You seem like a decent guy if you care that much about regular schmucks and why they left and wanting the opportunity to find out what the beef was and to try and fix it. That’s a great heart, IMO. Again, the opposite of the “pastor” I grew up with who could care less and would smear those who left or who were kicked out and then shunned in a cult-like manner from the “faithful” Group that remained.

  16. Ricky Bobby says:

    This sure seems to run contrary to the fluffy PR that Fusco laid out on here the other day. I hear all the time how CC is in decline and there are many who aren’t happy with the direction and the scandals, abuses etc. Why the PR fluff? There seems to be cracks in the Positive Spin narrative…this from CC Abuse:

    “Hello,

    This has been an interesting thread to say the least. I am a long time CC Pastor, and unfortunately…I have to agree with most of you. I have seen abuse, and the lack of Biblical response to dealing with it. My fellow leaders of the congregation that God has allowed us to lead have been having many “meetings” on dealing with this crisis within CC as a whole. I too attended the conference in CA, and I am not sure how much life CC really has. I do see a split coming; just cant see a way around it. We are praying…praying that God’s will, and not mine, not Chucks, or any other humans is done.”

  17. mrtundraman says:

    If you preach “If you don’t like it there’s the door”, don’t be surprised when people find the door.

  18. Rob Murphy says:

    Thankful for Xenia’s posts.

  19. Dude says:

    Jeff
    Will pray for you over this matter.

  20. Linnea says:

    Oh, Jeff, praying for you and your wife, even as my heart is convicted as a parishioner.

    I agree that Christians have high expectations of each other. We know the truth and don’t leave room or time for sanctification though God gives us a lifetime.

    Give your wife a hug and tell her we’re praying for you and her.

    Blessings to you….

  21. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Having long lasting friendships is a life skill and not everyone is Good at it including christians. My thing has always been if someone starts hetting a certain way with me I distance myself but now I’m learning to be more accepting of others and their habits.

  22. mrtundraman says:

    Chuck Smith info – “Update on my dad: Prayer warriors, it is time to put on your armor and fight in the spiritual arena. Dad’s doctors just upgraded his lung cancer from Stage 3 to Stage 4, due to the fluid in his lung. This fluid contains cancer cells. He just had the fluid removed for the second time. He will enter the hospital on July 1st to have more fluid removed (which will take two days) and a CAT scan to see if his lung is expanding. If his lung does not expand, he will have to have a catheter installed in the lung area to help him to empty the fluid at home. If his lung does expand, they will put talc into his lung to keep the fluid from forming. The talc procedure is simpler and preferable for various reasons. Please ask the Lord for His perfect plan for Dad to be accomplished. We trust our Heavenly Father to know best. Thank you eternally for praying.”

  23. Xenia says:

    Re MTM’s link- it’s about the nation of Georgia, not the state of Georgia.

    In the nation of Georgia, there are Baptists dressing up as Orthodox priests and making the service look Orthodox on the surface with incense, etc, to lure in Orthodox Christians into the Baptist world. It’s bait and switch and dishonest. The robes, incense, etc…. they are all intricately interwoven with genuine Orthodox theology. They are not just atmospheric trappings.

  24. Xenia says:

    Lord have mercy on Pastor Chuck. God bless him.

  25. Michael says:

    The talc procedure isn’t about fluid…it’s to keep the lung from collapsing.
    It may be simple…but it’s incredibly painful and recovery isn’t easy.
    I have had the procedure.
    The draining with a tube that will take a couple of days is not fun either…not in the least.
    He’s looking at having done what I went through a few months ago…and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

  26. mrtundraman says:

    Xenia – Ya, I thought it was an interesting article about contextualizing the faith. I don’t see a problem with Protestant Churches using incense since that’s what the Scripture says they should do.

    Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [shall be] offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name [shall be] great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.

    Robes are not all that unusual either. I would guess that any Orthodox person entering the “service” would quickly find it unfamiliar.

    Really, in some ways just how different is it than Metropolitan Philip telling the Antiochian priests to not have beards in America?

  27. mrtundraman says:

    Michael thanks for the explanation of the medical details.

  28. mrtundraman says:

    There’s an Orthodox church in southern Cal that has an altar rail and no iconostasis (screen in the front with doors, etc). It looked to me like a Lutheran church. Could it be said that they are trying to look Protestant to lure in people?

  29. Michael says:

    MTM,

    What it appears that no one wants to say is that Smith is a very, very, ill man.
    To undergo these procedures at his age and his weight is going to be a serious issue.

  30. Xenia says:

    Could it be said that they are trying to look Protestant to lure in people?<<<

    Yes, that could be said.

  31. It is no different than the deception foisted upon others by those calling themselves messianic jews. Total dishonesty.

  32. Ricky Bobby says:

    Sorry to hear that about Chuck Sr, but at some point the guy will croak. I wonder where his spirit goes as his body will stay in the ground until resurrection of the dead, no?

  33. Muff Potter says:

    It is my fervent hope that the Almighty will do for Chuck Smith as I would want done for myself if my health were to fail. Let kindness and compassion prevail.

  34. Ricky Bobby says:

    Ya, I hope the old guy doesn’t suffer, I wouldn’t want to suffer. Hopefully he passes peacefully and not in terror and pain, that’s about the best we can hope for, I guess.

  35. erunner says:

    Out all day at a family reunion for which I am grateful for. Anyway, if you’re interested drop by for some nice praise & worship. Nice mix of older and newer.

    https://morethancoping.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/praise-worship-june-21st-2013/

  36. Reuben says:

    First full day off in a few weeks. Fixed two bikes, watched my son rip up and down the road on a pedal bike with no training wheels, changed the plugs on my old car, sat in the garage with the music playing and thuroughly enjoyed a whole day with nowhere to go, and no end of the world catastrophic issues to deal with. Sipping whiskey, scanning the blog, bliss.

  37. erunner says:

    Jeff, Thanks for validating what I believe to be the truth about many pastors who are out there. It’s easy to become jaded when you read so much about scandalous doings by some in the pulpit and the real harm it causes.

    You care for your church and you care deeply for your wife. You want to do the right thing whenever it’s within your power and that’s how it should be.

    There could be a constructive conversation about pastor burnout which is not all that rare. Quite often we forget you’re human like the rest of us and figure you don’t experience life and emotions like the rest of us do. Some seem as if they want to deny you that right.

    Xenia spoke well in addressing your plight and I will add I’m in total agreement. Thank you for being brave enough for sharing.

  38. brian says:

    “And when a person realizes they treated their former pastor shabbily, how many go back to him and apologize?”

    My personal real world experience, I made a conscious effort to go back to every single person in leadership that I felt I had wronged or wronged me; (well I only brought up the being wronged by them if they did) which was one. It was a very long and arduous task because in the past no matter how I tried to bring up suggestions in the group they were leading or with them it was always taken negatively. It was always started with caveat after caveat trying to make sure they did not get me wrong. Which they always did. A visit to a home became menacing, a disagreement became being disgruntled, and so on. Once you cross a line which is always changing it is hard to figure out. So any way I went back to each of them, being extremely careful what I said, how I said it, my body language, how I breathed, what words I use, in what order, did I talk to much, not enough, gestures, looking in the eyes or not looking in the eyes, did I compliment enough, did I listen to all the mistakes I made. It was utterly exhausting. But I did manage to make up with them, totally on their ground which is I can be in the same room with them but thats about it. I am fine with that, I stopped buying that eternal family all going to heaven stuff a very long time ago in most cases. For the most part my relationships with in the church with church leaders was one of pragmatism and totally utilitarian in nature, nothing more what so ever.

  39. brian says:

    I have witnessed alot of death in my life, honestly Maybe one time I saw this.

    “Hopefully he passes peacefully and not in terror and pain,”

    All the others were always horrid, grimmacing faces, hallow eyes deep anxiety and so on. I will grant once the doctors medicated the heck out of them there was some semblance of “peace”. When I prayed back when I was first a Christian it was God heal them, then after a few years it was God let them go in peace, then it was God please take them quickly. I no longer pray for such things for the most part. To this day many of them haunt me especially the students I saw pass and my family. Thats the first time I ever really shared this side of me. Sorry about that.

  40. brian says:

    That is real tough Pastor Jeff I do hope you can find this person and the two of you be reconciled. Do take note you are only human and the fact that you feel this way shows your a good Pastor with a good heart. If that makes any sense. Have a nice evening.

  41. PP Vet says:

    “Christians end relationships WAY too quickly and easily.”

    I sympathize with any pastor who sees people walk away with no explanation.

    However I also sympathize with people who walk away without explanation.

    Has anyone ever tried actually going to the church leader(s) and telling them why you are leaving? How were you treated? Was it worth it?

  42. London says:

    Christians end relationships because conflict is seen as something Christians don’t do because they are supposed to “love” everyone, even their enemies.
    Sometimes, the effort of conflict resolution with someone just isn’t worth it. It’s easier to walk away

  43. Jim says:

    PP Vet,

    After attending three services a week for 7 years at CC Merritt Island, FL, the leadership didn’t seem to notice when we left. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    I won’t rehash my SGM experience, but let’s just say that I encourage people to slip out the back door, if they can.

  44. erunner says:

    PP Vet @ 42 “Has anyone ever tried actually going to the church leader(s) and telling them why you are leaving? How were you treated? Was it worth it?”

    I have done so twice. The first time I met with a pastor to let him know we were leaving and where we were headed he was very appreciative that I took the time to tell him. He took me to the church bookstore and gave me a tape series on prayer as we parted ways.

    The second time was when we left the church we went to when we left the above church. We were there eight years and had become heavily involved and made many friends. I was especially close with the pastor.

    I met with him after I heard a study he did while I wasn’t at church. It was during a time I was having difficulty making it to church. I asked if we could meet and I questioned him about the message which was anti christian psychology and psychiatry. It then became personal when I asked how he felt about me knowing I had anxiety issues. He told me he believed I chose to be this way and that I was in sin.

    I let him know right there we could no longer attend his church knowing what he thought about me. The odd thing is he told me that staying at the church was the best thing for me and if I left it would be the biggest disappointment of his time as a pastor.

    It was worth it both times although we have struggled to find a church home since the second experience. Eventually I went to see him and we put things behind us.

    What I came to understand was that even though I was treated unfairly I could end up falling into sin because of an unforgiving and bitter spirit, something I still wrestle with. I was a man that believed pastors could do no wrong because they lived for God. I now understand that isn’t the case and see things more clearly now.

  45. Cc pastor says:

    Jeff, I am also a pastor who understands your situation. My wife often helps other pastors wives through times like this. Please feel free to have her talk with my wife. If you desire to do so, my email is ccsaron@aol.com.

  46. Nonnie says:

    Because of hearing “if you are not happy with the way we do church here, then there’s the door” comments on tapes and in churches, one time when we left a church we just walked away quietly. We weren’t angry over anything, didn’t want to start any conflict, and we just felt it was best to leave. We were surprised when someone from the church rang and when we said we were not attending anymore, she said we should have told them. I actually had to agree with her. (this was not a CC) So we sat and wrote a letter and apologised for not explaining our leaving.

  47. Jeff Hensley says:

    There are definitely guys like that, no doubt. But I can also speak to the truth that probably the majority of men pastoring are truly desiring to be faithful to God’s call, and genuinely love people. That’s why I do it. I was a very successful engineer before I became a pastor. But I wanted to work with people, not numbers and computers. And God used that to call me. So if I can be so bold as to encourage you guys in on thing its this: Don’t let the SGM scandals or the abuse you have experienced in other places jade you from believing in the pastor or elder position. Its a God ordained one. And most of the men in it are like Gideon, trembling before God, feeling unqualified or unprepared for the task at hand, making decisions the best way they know how, even the wrong ones. Pastors are sinners just like everyone else, but with no place to go with their sin. Most of our churches have cultures created where if a pastor actually did confess his sin he would likely be run out of the pulpit. That’s an immense problem today. And I know many good men serving in the pastoral role, not rockstar pastors, but pastors of simple churches most drive by every day without even seeing, who want to honor God and love God’s people, and they carry a burden of responsibility that is hard to understand until you’ve carried it yourself. I certainly couldn’t have seen the heartaches that ministry brings going in. Its still worth it, though, to get to serve Jesus in this way. Wouldn’t trade what I get to do for all the spinning-osteen globes in all the world

    I am thankful to Brian and erunner and Michael and Xenia and all of you who offered words of encouragement.

  48. Jtk says:

    “I’ll say this though with boldness and great conviction: Christians end relationships WAY too quickly and easily.”

    Soo true!

    As a minister, one of the hardest things is seeing people you’ve personally cared for over years, helped them with their darkest secrets and sins, had them into your home weekly, just leave. Never return phone calls, messages, etc.

    A particularly shy young man DID sit down with me and explain where I had made a mistake; he was right and I apologized and commended him.

    God bless you, Jeff.

    I seem to remember a sandal wearing minister who had someone close to Him leave…

  49. Nonnie says:

    Jeff, you sound like a wonderful pastor and very loving husband. God bless you and the ministry He has called you to.

  50. Ricky Bobby says:

    Jeff’s vision of “pastor” seems a lot better than the Celebrity / Moses Model sort, however, from what I know of humanity, it’s an oversell and not realistic. I bet the regulars are sinners, too, and if pressed a little would reveal it very quickly. Make an Idol of the Ideal, not the individual men doing the work, that’s my caution.

  51. Michael says:

    RB,

    If you press any of us, we are sinners.
    Is this a news flash?
    We all are fallen people working in a fallen world.
    Because of that you can attack any vocation with the same cautions.
    None of us are perfect in any role we have…pastor, bloggers, friends, husbands, wives parents, whatever.
    If that the expectation, then there will always be great disappointment.
    Jeff is a good pastor and a sinner like everyone else…that’s not oversell and is completely realistic.
    They don’t pretend to be anything else.
    If his elders reflect his leadership (and I believe they do) this is a really good church, with a very good leader.

  52. “Making an idol out of the ideal” is still an idol.
    Then you compare everyone to the idol you have created and they fall short.
    Even if you compare them to Jesus they will ALWAYS fall short.
    That is the state of fallen humanity.
    This is your root problem that you don’t want to confront, the fact that you hold people to a standard that even Jesus knows we can’t attain right now.

  53. Ricky Bobby says:

    Derek, Jesus is the Ideal, I think the point of the NT Narrative is to Idolize him, no?

  54. Did you not read the whole response?

  55. Ricky Bobby says:

    Still can’t get passed this one, it contradicts the Pauline teachings and is at the root a major problem in the “church” IMO. It leads to Pride, Idolatry and all sorts of evils:

    “”But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.”–Jesus Christ

  56. Get past what? The fact that Jesus tells us not to use the term Rabbi in the way the Pharisees did? With pride and self exaltation?
    Ok. still doesn’t forbid teachers or pastors.
    We were talking about idolatry of teachers by others, not pride and self exaltation of these. Two different problems there.

  57. Michael says:

    Derek,

    Exactly.

  58. Ricky Bobby says:

    Selective Literalism/Fundamentalism, you are taking a very Liberal approach to the explicit statement of Jesus to explain away a contradiction with Paul’s teaching.

    Fact remains, Jesus said “simply” and “plain meaning” not to call others “Teacher” which is same as Pastor/Teacher that we exalt today in nearly every church.

  59. Michael says:

    RB,

    That’s simply sophistry on your part.
    I believe the entire NT is scripture and is coherent.
    Scripture interprets scripture…and we examine the whole canon to understand any part of it.
    You reject the scriptures, so we’re not going to have much to discuss.

  60. Michael says:

    RB,

    That is not liberalism in any shape or form…it’s part of the historic hermeneutic of the conservative Protestant church.

  61. I’m sorry, I must have missed the verse where he said “simply” and “plain meaning” is that the same place where he called pharisees a “brood of vipers”? Do you take that simply and plainly?
    That was rhetorical so I don’t expect an answer, the answer should be evident to all. No, the pharisees weren’t literally a brood of vipers. A reading of the gospels reveals exactly how complex Jesus was in his answers, parables and so forth.
    That whole schtick as an answer is getting old.

  62. Ricky Bobby says:

    Thanks, good stuff to help explain things in another article on CC Abuse

  63. Liberalism. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  64. If RB would read the Bible, he would see in Ephesians that God has given to us a gift – explicitly the office of Pastor / Teacher. But then RB does not understand context.

    Talk about being selective. Oh wait, wasn’t it Jesus who told the disciples to go out and teach? and what do you call someone who teaches?

  65. Ricky Bobby says:

    “and what do you call someone who teaches?”

    “brother” according to Jesus, but not Rabbi/Pastor/Teacher if you take the command literally.

  66. Michael says:

    “if you take the command literally.”
    If you take the command out of the context it’s given in and out of the context of the NT.
    If you don’t let scripture and context interpret scripture, then you can come up with a “literal” wooden reading that misses most of the point Christ was making.
    Based on context and the rest of the scriptures on this issue, we would acknowledge that God has appointed leaders and offices in the church, but those leaders are not to be exalted above others, nor should they exalt themselves.
    Not exactly rocket science.

  67. Ricky Bobby says:

    “If you don’t let scripture and context interpret scripture, then you can come up with a literal wooden reading that misses most of the point Christ was making.”

    LOL, that is rich with irony. I’ll explain in much more detail on the other blog so as not to cause any problems here.

  68. I am heading back to church. Today is our year end voter’s assembly where we vote for the new budget and revisions to our by laws.

    The budget vote was previewed in 2 open forums a couple of weeks ago where members were given a line by line breakdown and allowed to ask question.

    The by laws were revise by a committee I headed over the past 9 months. Mission, bring the by laws into line with the way we operate or to remind staff that they may be operating outside of our by laws.

    I hope we all get along. 🙂

  69. Hey, RB, besides you, what christian groups literally interpret the Rabbi verse that way and have no teachers? A list would be nice. 🙂

  70. erunner says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I’ve had it up to here with the term “Selective Fundamentalism.”

  71. Well, I gotta do some research on a town that was burned to the ground by Union forces during the Civil War. The town is somewhere near my father’s house and he wants to go exploring in that vicinity. From geocaching.com I know the cemetery still exists, but I would like to find the actual town site.
    I will check back later.

  72. Michael says:

    Paul on the ministry:

    “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
    (2 Corinthians 4:1–5 ESV)

  73. Xenia says:

    Happy Day of Pentecost!

  74. London says:

    It’s not just you Erunner

  75. Michael says:

    I understand the weariness.
    However, I’m deeply concerned that some will have their faith shaken unnecessarily by these attacks on the Scripture and the church.

    When folks have their trust broken in church, there is a temptation to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    It’s understandable.
    Unfortunately, it can also take away the hope of the promises of God and the Gospel itself.
    That’s the only hope I have and if we can share that, however imperfectly, we may help some folks hang on.

  76. Steve Wright says:

    If you all dig into a little Greek in those two Matthew ch. 23 verses, you’ll find a surprising insight….

  77. Neo says:

    Jesus. Paul. Two separate contexts to their imperatives. Old and New. Apples and Oranges.

    “The best way to understand Scripture is to not just read what is written but to whom, with what intent, and what goes before and follows the text” Miles Coverdale, translator of first English Bible, 1535.

    RB. You don’t throw it all into a blender indiscriminately.

  78. The thing the superficial readers of scripture miss could be solved by asking one question – what question is the writer answering. It resolves all the so called issues that people bring up between Paul and James – they are speaking to 2 different groups and each is answering a different question.

    But superficial readers always remain superficial readers.

  79. Linnea says:

    Would anyone want to comment on the benefits/cautions of a house church? I’m thinking about something along the lines of L’Abri, and a place for artists/writers to “come let us reason.”

  80. Neo says:

    In order of importance according to Martin Luther: Gospels followed by Pauline Letters, followed by John’s Epistles- Hebrews, James, Peter, Jude, Revelation all fall after those. It’s like he said, “meh”, about those final Apostolic letters.

  81. Neo says:

    …and I can’t really say I blame him. 🙂

  82. Michael says:

    Linnea,

    That’s what I’ve pastored for the last dozen years or so.
    The advantages from my perspective are that you really can work on becoming disciples and there are no spectators.
    As a teacher, I love the fact that it’s interactive and we can work through things together as a body.
    The gifts that God has given every member surface quickly and are in use and appreciated.
    Fellowship is real and deep.
    The drawbacks are that there is no “worship team” or programs.
    I would be cautious about making sure that it’s not personality driven and that someone is actually qualified to teach in the group.

  83. mrtundraman says:

    Michael, what are your qualifications to teach?

  84. Michael says:

    Decades of study and the churches affirmation of my gift.

  85. “…what are your qualifications to teach?”

    Here’s a sure sign…
    “I open my mouth, people turn their heads and listen, I keep talking, they don’t run away, then they come back for more…”

    😉

  86. sorry, just had to be a twit

    carry on

  87. London says:

    I would think artists/writers being together would bring about great discussion and other expressions of faith.

  88. Linnea says:

    Michael…thanks!
    grendal @86…Amen brother!

  89. And #63 and #68. Exit RB to go and explain how none of us have lived up to the ideal on his own blog.
    Wait, what did I say earlier?
    Oh well, maybe the ideal christian will show up over there.

  90. ( |o )====::: says:

    London,
    Artists & writers?
    We’ve had an ongoing community recognized by theologians and debaters within the church.

    We’re called “heretics”.

    We meet outside the camp under the stars.

  91. ( |o )====::: says:

    “The ideal christian” was crucified, then His followers chose to wear His means of execution around their necks as a memorial instead of finding a symbol He would have chosen to sum up His message. Thankfully it wasn’t an electric chair or we’d have some bizarre imagery over the altars and on the front of pulpits in our churches.

  92. I know Jesus was the ideal. He was the Christ after all, very God of very God. No one here can be Him and no one here can be perfect.
    But some, come and try to point out every flaw they see in actions or deeds.
    They use this as a testing ground for their pet theories and then go and put us on show in other places.
    Has anyone on here ever said they were perfect?
    If RB, wants to see hypocrisy then come on in, but heck, you can find that any and everywhere.
    He needs to remember, as I have said before, these are real people on this blog.
    Behind the monikers and nom de plume’s everyone here is a living breathing person with feelinga and thoughts.
    We are not some personal experiment ground for him to slaver over and test theories.

  93. A couple of things.
    1.) About the cross as a symbol – Paul said somewhere that he wanted to only know / teach Christ and him crucified. I think that the cross may indeed be a wonderful memorial to Jesus.

    2.) I think we need to be careful when we hold up Jesus as some ideal – I don’t think he expected us (1) to ascend to his level, (2) it makes him sound too much like a life coach instead of a savior “see I did it, now let’s see you do it” and (3) we are to live in a different way than Jesus – Jesus said that we would do greater things than what he did.

  94. btw – I have never worn a cross around my neck. Except for my 44 yr old wedding ring and my watch, I have never worn any other jewelry.

    Do real men wear other jewelry? 😉

  95. Linnea says:

    Grendal @93– there are many of your tribe and I suspect they are much like Elijah, who in fleeing from Jezebel, didn’t realize God had preserved others like him. Blessings to you…

  96. MLD, just to clarify, I wasn’t saying Jesus was the ideal we could live up to.
    It is my impression that that is what RB expects out of us and then uses that to find reasons to judge us based on that.
    I don’t expect anyone to live up to Jesus.
    Therefore, I am not disappointed when they don’t.
    ___________
    On a side note, I got this book free off Amazon today.
    “Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ”
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DDTZSDO/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ask_LDslF.19ZR81T

    It looked interesting and the price was unbeatable! 😉

  97. What better way to show the power that Christ has over death than to display the means of death that was unable to keep Him dead. He is risen!

  98. London says:

    Yeah I know G,
    I was just responding to the idea Linnea wrote about.
    My kind of crowd.

  99. Lutheran says:

    Derek,

    I was fishing around from the link you provided.

    This one really turned me off and I wouldn’t read a book from a group that believes this: I’d rather spend the time rearranging my sock drawer.

    “Violators will be sent to seminary”

    http://www.simplechurch.com/

  100. Lutheran says:

    Someone earlier was asking about the pluses and minuses of house churches.

    I easily IDed one of them in my previous post. Antiintellectualism and a disregard for what’s gone before us. (Except, I guess, for the ‘pure believers’ found in Acts. They apparently didn’t have to worry about being sinners along with being saints, etc., etc.) I guess meeting in a house is spiritual magic pixie dust — no fuss, no muss!

    I’m thankful for Michael and those house churchers who don’t operate like that. I hope their tribe increases!

  101. Lutheran,
    Oh well, It may not be any good, but I haven’t been hurt by reading something yet.
    Not even RB’s comments 🙂

  102. “I think we need to be careful when we hold up Jesus as some ideal”

    God incarnate?
    4 records of His life?
    Participatory & empowering “Life Coach” who indwells His followers?

    I got no problem with following Jesus, holding Jesus up as the life defining ideal for my very existence and consciousness.

    Crosses?
    never again for me

    London,
    Hey, my kind too! Love ya.

  103. I forgot to report back from the voters assembly at church today. The budget passed with a unanimous vote.

    We also voted to put out a call to a new pastor of outreach.

    Not a bad day to be a voter in the church. 🙂

  104. Steve Wright says:

    Unanimous? Wow. Any accusations of “yes men” and rubber stamping? 🙂

  105. Ixtlan says:

    @107

    LOL!!!!!! 🙂

  106. Nonnie says:

    I wear a cross. It is a reminder of what my Lord and Saviour did for me. It is a reminder of my need to daily cry out, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner” and to daily remember that He does indeed forgive, heal, and restore. It is a reminder of the grace and love of God for me.

  107. Unanimous? Wow. Any accusations of “yes men” and rubber stamping? 🙂

    I guess the “No” voters decided not to show up. 🙂

    But why wouldn’t it be unanimous – it was created by the people of the church?

  108. Bob says:

    Wow it amazes me how the simplest things become complex sometimes. It has been stated here that we should idolize Jesus, follow the plain meaning of the text, Paul changed the faith, don’t be called rabbi or teacher…..

    I like what Paul said:

    “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,”

    for the Greek detailers attitude can mean “mind” or “to think” as in “phroneo.”

    Of course good students/disciples (but I know no one is good) would ask the question, “Paul what attitude are we to have?”

    And he answers it this way, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, …” and there is more.

    Could our attitudes and desires still be like Satan said in the Garden, “you will be like God!”

    Yep, maybe Jesus is our model after all and Paul taught this part correctly.

  109. Steve Wright says:

    One of my seminary professors posted that his daughter and son-in-law are going to live in Africa for 2 years. She is a nurse who will care for HIV and AIDS babies. He is a mechanic (and I think pilot) who will help maintain aircraft needed to fly emergency medical needs.

    I just thought these two are a great example of Christians serving the Lord with their gifts, abilities, and learned skills.

    I try so hard to express this truth regularly – that we don’t just need to go to Bible college and study theology in order to serve the Lord.

    (I thought about posting this in the Mexico thread, so it would be more current – as I think the principle applies to what they are doing there – but did not want to take away from the Mexico focus.)

  110. Gary says:

    Re: #5-#9 I’ve bragged on my church before and I’d like to add here that my church is a place for pastors and ex pastors to come to refresh and recouperate. There are 4 I could name and there are probably more.

    Re: #9 I had to leave a church once after trying to work it out with the pastor. I did try. That was in 1985.

    Re: #10 I did. I travelled hundreds of miles to do so. Of course I was misunderstood but I had already put it in God’s hands so it didn’t bother me too much. That was in 1973.

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