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Challenging, thought provoking issues for the need of this hour.


In this Issue

THE EVOLUTION OF THE NEW LIFE CHURCHES OF NZ!


In Other News

The covering doctrine or the headship of Christ?
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THE STIFLING ENVIORONMENT OF ORGANISED RELIGION

The premise of absolute submission is predicated on the hypothesis that spiritual leaders are in effect “spiritual mediators” who go to God on behalf of their followers. These leaders however would emphatically deny the attribution. According to the premise, the followers are spiritually deficient and inferior to their leaders, and therefore basically incapable of seeking and hearing from God for themselves; or cultivating on-going communion and fellowship with Him, so they need the help of a “mediator”; a priestly “go-between; somebody who supposedly has a more elite standing with God; someone who stands in the gap for the less fortunate. The hypothesis is that because these leaders are far more spiritual than their people, and more capable of receiving from God, therefore they are indispensable.

Every knowledgeable believer should be thoroughly disgusted, appalled and totally outraged at such an outlandish and even blasphemous notion. The Bible explicitly says: “There is ONE God, and ONE mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all 1 Tim. 2:5. Babies and young children in the Lord need nurturing, but they should be weaned as soon as they are able to feed themselves. The divine intention is for all of us to grow up into Him in all things, and not be dependant upon “spiritual mediators”.

When the leaders of our churches tell us that we should ‘do what the pastor tells us even if we think he is wrong’ (I have heard those words said myself) warning bells should ring. This instruction reflects the view of the pastor standing in for you before God even in matters of conscience. In this way the pastor becomes a surrogate conscience. He is covering for you before God.

If people constantly choose to rely on leaders as their spiritual guides and surrogate consciences without question, how will they ever mature in their personal relationship with God? So what should we do about it; or where do we go from here? According to many it’s into homes?

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE

Reflections of an honest house church leader.
When we commenced gathering in homes, it seemed so cool and radical to break out of the 90 minute service. It seemed so cool to take 3 or 4 hours, sharing, praying and eating. And the food, the meals, unbelievable, out of this world! Going to a service in a church seemed so grey and lifeless alongside what we experiencing. But after two years, what was positive once can also become a negative at times.

  1. Because of the length of the gatherings, people are put off coming so regularly, and also put off through losing a whole Sunday when they have to host it.
  2. It's been great to be participatory and we never want to lose it, but the problem is that a lot of the time with everyone sharing it can drift, and become shallow because of a lack of preparation and thought.
  3. For the women (sounds sexist!) getting something decent prepared for the gathering has become a stress and a hassle, having to do it every Sunday.
I think one of the key answers is that 'Variety is the Spice of Life'. Anything no matter how amazing gets boring and stale without change and variety. In the end this happens when people show no leadership, initiative and effort. If people stay on automatic pilot then the same thing happens week after week. In the end it takes initiative, planning, and form. Other than that I don't have answers at this time to these issues.
P.S. the groups folded and scattered. (And so that was that). The life a house church is less than 3 years in most cases.

I certainly didn’t see what I was looking for in the House Church movement. Yet it is clear that the saints in the New Testament opened their homes and gathered there for fellowship etc Acts 2:42. In all honesty I didn’t know what I was looking for, all I knew was that something was radically wrong with what we were doing, and I didn’t know what to do, or where to go. I felt certain that there was a perfect model in the bible somewhere that we hadn’t yet seen. If you still think the house church is the way to go, then go for it, but I feel you will be as disappointed as the writer of the above comments was to be sure.

Most people of course think if you haven’t been branded and in a Herd somewhere, and committed to its leaders, then you are at least drifting, or worse still backslidden. These saints are often referred to as loose cannons. For many years we had been involved in leadership at several levels, yet from the time I left my former companions and began to live in the Kingdom and follow Christ, no one ever came to seek us out with the view to restoring us to the herd; or to find out what had happened to us. Today some 20years later I am spoken of as a lost soul, or a brother that is in deception or even worse. It’s as though we have leprosy.
PS. There are more sick and weakly lost souls in the system than they care to admit.

ALRIGHT WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND
The answer for us was simply to follow Christ!

Some time ago a Pastor friend asked me this question, “what benefits are you getting from what you believe and the way you live now, that you didn’t have before. Can you name anything different that you are specifically doing?

My response was, yes I have “I entered the Kingdom of God and began to live there”. It never registered with him; and I doubt that he heard me, or even tried to understand what that comment meant. So sadly he continues to struggle along urging his flock to pray for revival?

Luke 16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.

Woe to you lawyers for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered." And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. Luke 11:52-54"

Matthew 23:13-14 "but woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces; for you do not enter, yourselves, nor do you permit those who are about to come in, to enter”.

Neither shall they say, lo, here! Or, there! For the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21 It is not a matter of where we meet as much as what we do when we are there.

Next, I speak for Anne as well as myself when I say; we found that our relationship with Christ took on a new dimension such as we had never known.

I told my friend what an incredible revelation, and marvelous relief it was when I realized that He has not called us to build His Kingdom, but SIMPLY TO LIVE IN IT. Yes that’s right, just live in it, down here, right where I am, in the here and nasty now. What a joy. What a glorious deliverance from the torturous fundamentalists; the mission driven evangelicals and raving charismatic’s, who are ever insisting that we must go! And we must do more! And give more. So to counter this we just began to resist religious party political activists and to begin instead to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and follow Him and do His bidding. We began to live by Kingdom principles in His secure environment that the gates of hell cannot hold out against. We found that so much of what we had been taught, (if not all) and what we had done in former days was not declaring the Kingdom of God but building the kingdoms of men. To be sure the old environment had satisfied our ego and that of other pastors, but it didn’t do a lot for everybody else. Looking back I see it was an extraordinary waste of time and resources that should have been utilized elsewhere; like spending time with the family instead of at the Christian factory pleading for a reluctant God to save the world.

Initially there were aspects that were testing. These came from our detractors. They threw everything in the Book at us (those things that they preached but never practiced). I admit their arguments were rational but the Lord gave us the wisdom to see the difference. Gradually we realized that we could stand without the trappings of services and programs to prop us up and keep us from falling. That we could stand against anything the world threw at us as long as were clothed in the amour He had provided for us. We knew that were not sufficient of ourselves, but that our sufficiency was of God who enabled us to stand upright against all the wiles of the enemy.

Truly we can sing “Jesus thou art everything to me” We dine as oft as we can with Him around His Table, and love to tarry there.
We began talking to Him about every aspect of our lives. We soon began to find other brothers and sisters on the same journey. We opened our homes to one another, where bread and wine (the food of our God) on an open was available where all that love Him could come and dine. We felt more secure than we could have ever imagined. We have learned that where He guides He provides, and as He leads He feeds. We saw that money is power, and what desolation it can cause personally and collectively. How religious building programs have destroyed more relationships than they ever edified. I have seen the power it gives to men to promote their ministries, even to build themselves churches, and to buy fame. I saw that although money is amoral it takes on the character of the user. I found one does not need a pulpit to serve God, or money to further His cause. He has brought us into partnership with Himself, and all that we need to do whatever HE asks of us will be supplied. I refuse to beg or borrow; He the source of our every supply.

THE QUESTION NOW IS WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

The law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the “kingdom of God” is preached unto you.
A time of unusual shaking is taking place, so it behoves us to ensure that our house is on a firm foundation.
“ Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire”. Hebrews 12:27

WATCH OUT FOR MORE ON KINGDOM PRINCIPLES IN THE FUTURE
If you have any questions please feel free to ask and we shall seek together to find the truth.

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Shaun Kearney
en engape!