CHRISTIAN PATHWAY: Bible Counsel - Feature Page 10
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Noteworthy subjects here to consider and to be a help. Comments and questions are welcome.
A MAGAZINE FOR THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
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There are many good books and pieces of ministry available at the distributor stated here, giving greater detail on the subjects, but these brief writings in this magazine set forth the essence of the stated subject for a good overview. Ask for a sample copy.
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Christians Meeting In Homes
[Adapted here from earlier paper on Cottage Meetings by RLD]
That which is called House Meetings in recent times is not a new thing, though some Christians have started practicing that claiming it the proper place to meet. They are more concerned about the form and comfort of gathering than the truth of gathering, and are often found developing a new sect of free-flowing religious ideas, fun times, etc., rather than the teachings of Bible truth in the Word of God.
The reference to Cell Groups meeting in homes, is different and speaks of small gatherings in homes to discuss what is preached and held in their “mother church” ---which the members are joined to. They take direction from the larger organized sect.
In the beginning the church met in homes (even an "upper room" – Luke 22), and later other buildings as assemblies grew larger. Many assemblies from over a century ago have met in homes (often called Cottage Meetings). Since the revival by God, and return to church truth in the early 1800's apart from religious sects and denominations, those gatherings seeking a scriptural order and God’s intention for the church, often meet in homes until growing large enough to need to rent or own a building for it.
The important thing about such a universal gathering in that fellowship from 1827 AD, at least, is that it must be fully scriptural, without innovations, a name, religious ceremonies, traditions, programs, carnal reasoning and activities, a one-man ministry and hierarchies, etc. It believes in the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2) and waiting upon the Holy Spirit, and avoids names and titles and man’s ideas. The form of meetings is not alone the truth of gathering, and the scriptural fellowship is expected to express the truth of "one body in Christ" worldwide (1 Cor. 12:25) for "unity of the faith", and always in accord with the Word of God. This is not saying they are the "one body", but they continue to express that as shown by God.
The gathered saints thus study the Word of God together and value esteemed Commentaries and the help of Bible scholars down through history; and read verses of praise, sing to the Lord, and partake of the Lord’s Supper together; beside holding Gospel meetings for the public at times, and appreciating a godly fellowship together ---locally and worldwide. It sees Church Truth as in Acts 2:41-42 and the Epistles.
This is getting back to basics and holding what God set forth for His church testimony in the world, I believe. Such a fellowship was recovered in 1827 AD with a gathering to return to the testimony from the beginning. It still exists worldwide if one is interested in a Bible-only fellowship. – R. DeWitt, updated 09/12: from biblecounsel.net
SOME CHURCH HISTORY
The Brethren From 1827 AD --RLD 9/2010; rev. 10/16
[That nameless recovery by God for church truth in circa 1800 A.D., often called "the brethren movement", is worthy of note. This is just to say that in spite of the various sects that have developed out of that revival in 1827 AD, a testimony has been maintained to the original intent of God. One can read more on this at the CHURCH TRUTH and HISTORY pages and some others on this web site.]
It is of increasing importance in the brevity of time left for church testimony, that serious seekers after church truth gain some understanding of the "wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11), and his attacks upon God's testimony of church truth in the world. We must not let it go un-challenged and allow the enemy to propagate falsehoods to justify divisions in church testimony. Such sectarianism is dishonoring to God, divisive of "unity of the faith" God ordained, and quite contrary to His Word in such as Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12 ---especially noting also verse 25; Ephesians 4, and misleading faithful saints.
The intent here is mostly a calling to differentiate between God's revival of church truth in 1827 A.D., and those denominated sects which existed from the so-called "Protestant Reformation" of circa 1500 A.D. The tyranny of Christians under papacy rule for a thousand years (circa 500 - 1500 AD) was broken by God with the brave proclamation of "justification by faith alone", which a number of ministering saints set forth in much peril. This reformation effort revived the true Gospel message, but sadly left the rituals, ceremonies, innovations, and hierarchy of the RC religion in place and practiced them.
Not only have the various denominated sects coming out of the RC religion continued even to this day, but new sects like them with various innovations are being formed every year. When the recovery of church truth was established by God in that revival of circa 1800, Satan again began to fight against it as he did in the Middle (dark) Ages with the Gospel truth, as history shows. Some division groups were formed (which will not be named here now) to copy this new work of God with carnal ways to accomodate all beliefs and practices of many sects.
More detail is available in the Christian Counsel Collection - CCC, to address various aspects of this history, such as continuance of sectarianism, the validity of the revival, the ministry, assembly government, and essential judgments to maintain that good recovery by God in the years thereafter. GOD DID NOT CALL US TO INDEPENDENCE, BUT UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.
- Various Ideas -
There are various writings about the "brethren movement" being circulated with much emphasis on loose, open, and independent gatherings on one hand, and conformity to leaders and the strict rules by men on the other hand. These unions have corrupted the truth, by those who left the scriptural ground of gathering to set up their own "tables" and religious organizations. It is all about what pleases men, rather than what pleases the Lord. One should see their origin and history. For the glory and honor of God a need is felt here to speak of the foundations of God and His sound recovery of 1827 AD.
There remains some well balanced believers to the present day who have held the truth committed to them, and do not take a name, follow a man, nor own titles not given in the Word of God, and who seek to embrace that good work of recovery which conforms to the beginning, as established in Acts and the Epistles; and who have maintained that revival of God to restore church truth lost after the Apostolic time. This fellowship has survived many divisions through the years by maintaining the purposes of God for the universal church (the body of Christ), avoiding prominent men as a gathering cause, various innovations, rationales, entertainment, etc., regardless how convenient and reasonable they might seem.
- Summary -
To be brief, this subject here makes reference to a truly scriptural assembly fellowship in the world; and more definitive description, explanation, and sound ministry can be reviewed by contacting Bible Truth Publishers in Addison, IL. USA., and at the personal web site: (www.biblecounsel.homestead.com). Much good ministry is available. Readers may write to find such a gathering near to them.
It is the desire and purpose of the believers gathered thus to avoid man's ideas and preferences, hold unity, and be faithful to God's Word. Serious seekers are encouraged to not hurry to join a so-called "Bible believing church", and should seek that unity and expression of "the one body of Christ" after the scriptural way. Believers need to stay clear of religious innovations and independency. One should ask questions and gather information about God's universal church for His glory and for their good; and pray earnestly for God's leading.
- RLD: CF23