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The New Testament Is Plural (Us) Not Singular (Me)
by Jon Zens
As folks listen to local and media Bible teachers, most miss the fact that Christ’s body is missing from their use of the New Testament. More often than not the approach taken is individualistic – “how can Christ help me live the Christian life?” However, the NT was not written to individuals but to groups of believing people in various cities and regions. This does not come across in English translations for the most part because the word “you” in the Greek can be singular or plural. For example, the “you” in “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” is plural, and has in view the Body of Christ.
Think about it. The NT letters were sent to ekklesias (assemblies) – “when you come together as an ekklesia.” Even the letter sent to an individual – Philemon – still has a corporate (body) dimension to it – “to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the ekklesia in your house.”[Continue Reading…]
I’ve been reading the nativity story again and am captured by the sheer wonder of it all. It truly is the greatest story ever told. Next week I plan to write a blog post about Joseph, as I feel there are lessons to learn from his life that are little talked about today. So stay tuned for that post Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Last year a writer for Modern Reformation Magazine interviewed me. His questions covered a wide-range of subjects, some of which I’m asked about frequently.
Here’s the complete interview.
MR: In your opinion, what is the future of the emerging/emergent church movement? In what ways are you optimistic about the movement?
Frank: I’m not part of the emerging church movement nor am I part of emergent, so I’m not sure. I have talked with folks in the movement (or “conversation”) and they’ve seen it begin to splinter into a three different streams. One is toward a more liberal theology and outlook. The other is toward the missional church movement. And the third is toward a more postchurch theology and outlook.[Continue Reading…]
The Anabaptists were part of the Radical Reformation. As such, they are some of the people on whose shoulders I stand. They stood outside the organized church of their day, but paid a bloody price for it. Literally.
The dedication I wrote in Pagan Christianity is written to them as well as to those who came before and after to maintain the testimony of Jesus without compromise in the earth. Here it is:
To our forgotten brothers and sisters throughout the ages who courageously stepped outside the safe bounds of institutional Christianity at the risk of life and limb. You faithfully carried the torch, endured persecution, forfeited reputation, lost family, suffered torture, and spilled your blood to preserve the primitive testimony that Jesus Christ is Head of His church. And that every believer is a priest . . . a minister . . . and a functioning member of God’s house. This book is dedicated to you. (Pagan Christianity, p. vii.)
“One of the most provocative hours you’ve ever heard in Christian talk radio”
~ The Host
By the way, if you can answer the $500,000 question in the interview, post it below. If you know people who are in seminary and Bible college, pass this blog post on to them. Perhaps they can give it a try.
No one to date has been able to answer it. 🙂
I’ve written extensively on organic church life (see the links below this post). Reimagining Church and Finding Organic Church are theological and practical treatments of the subject. Yet the term “organic church” continues to be used for any group of believers that meets in a home. (This is a misnomer as we’ve previously discussed.) The concept of authentic organic church life is very hard to get over to a person who has never seen it firsthand.
What follows is a report from a person who visited one of the organic churches that my co-workers and I planted and are working with presently. I’m deliberately not giving the city where this church exists as this is not an advertisement, and it will detract from the point.
I hope the report will give you a better handle on what organic church life looks like in living color. Similar testimonies of those who live in organic church life appear in the links below. Note that “organic church” is nothing other than the church that the New Testament envisions.[Continue Reading…]
Those of you who have read my books carefully . . . as well as this blog . . . know that I’m not an advocate of “house church.”
Asking me if I endorse a house church is like asking me if I endorse plants. To which my response is, “what kind of plant are you talking about? I like crape myrtle trees, but I don’t like cactuses or poison ivy.”
House churches are like plants. There are extremely different varieties.
As I’ve often said, a house church is simply a group of Christians who hold their meetings in a home.
That can range from a scaled-down version of the institutional church (very common), to a glorified bible study (even more common), to a once-a-week songfest accompanied by a potluck, to a grade-A, certified cult.[Continue Reading…]