Who we are in Christ gives us not only the sense of who we are as people, but the sense of purpose and forgive me when I use this word, but also a sense of “destiny”. If the Lord is spreading the Kingdom through these simple church fellowships, surely there must be a way to measure the effective ones? Surely there are non negotiables, are there not?
There is a proper way to plant New Testament churches. It has to be the calling together of those who come together in relationship with Jesus, and to those others to which people are called to journey together. Jesus is the Lord of relationship, restoring relationship with God, and with other people. Part of that mandate, of calling people to community, to “being the church”, is to gather as family in community, and to gather with the intended purpose of furthering the rule of Christ in the lives of people, and in the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
The mission of being the church, flows directly from the relationship people have with Jesus. The deeper the relationship, and the more intimate, the greater the expression of the mission of the church. The foundation for planting a church is relationship, and the foundation for mission, for advancing the Kingdom, is still the relationship.
To God the relationships we have, and their quality has a direct being on the success of a church plant. Will people pursue their own agendas, or work though the issues as the issues arise? Or will they allow the issues to fester and to divide? Will people pursue the “one another’s” including the “love one another” and attempt to work out differences of opinion, differences in belief, differences in doctrine, or let these other things destroy what God is trying to build?
The bottom line according to Ephesians 4, and Romans 8, is that we are to be transformed from glory to glory into the image of Jesus Christ. The calling to the church, is to bear the character of Jesus, and when the believers are called to come together as a body, it is to express the life and character of Jesus in community, and out of that community, the gifts of the Spirit manifest themselves and the work of grace and truth and love is accomplished. So, I believe, there is a proper way to plant a New Testament church!
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The above blog post was written at a time when I was eclectic in my theological & biblical views and understanding. As of 5 February 2017 I am a functional cessasionist, that is, I believe the spiritual gifts, in particular gift like the vocative, prophetic gifts as well as healing & miracles have ceased. This means that my understanding is that at the end of the apostolic era, when the last apostle died (that would be John who was at Patmos & Ephesus, the author of the Gospel of John, Epistles of John & the Revelation of Jesus Christ, with his passing, the need for these particular gifts, the oracles of God given to men through the Holy Spirit, were no longer required. With the forming of the Canon of Scripture, there came to be no need for revelatory gifts. In fact in Revelation, John himself records the words of Jesus, “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.” [Revelation 22, CSB]
God is sovereign, still heals, still manifests in the miraculous, but not at the whim or the discretion of men. We pray and ask the Lord, and then we yield and surrender to His will, echoing the words and the spirit of Christ, “Not my will but your will be done.” [Luke 22:42].
I embrace and hold to a Reformed understanding of theology & Christian living in the world. I have abandoned my other views entirely. I would be more akin to a Reformed Baptist (1689 Confession) type of Reformed theology. I used to be a continuationist (akin to John Piper) but no longer.
God bless you as you seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection [Philippians 3:10 CSB].
In the eternal grip of Jesus,
Samuel M. Buick
29 January 2018
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