Research Notes - Analyzing The "Cell Church" Model
The following series of articles is the research of Sarah Leslie of the Christian Conscience. These are her notes which will be developed into a full article later. DITC will post that article when it is finished, but for now some may want to read her notes. These basics on the cell church movement are important for us to see some of the origins of this movement that will enable the establishment of the new hierarchial structure for the "redefined church." A list of books used in this research will be listed in the final section.
Note From Sarah:
"This is in very rough draft form. ... These writings are not a finished product, but research notes in preparation for writing final articles."
The idea of meeting for fellowship in homes is as old as the New Testament itself. Scriptures records that the early churches met in homes. Throughout the centuries at various times, and for differing reasons, fellowship was out of the home:
The Methodist Church began in the eighteenth century in cottage meetings in the homes of members; the established Church of England was not available to them. The evangelical revivals of the nineteenth century in Sweden found meeting places in homes because the Lutheran State Church was not open to them. Many Amish people in the United States today meet regularly for church in one another's farmhouses. Houses as meeting places have served committed Christians from the church's beginning. (p. 42) BB [Anderson]
Many books have been written in the last three decades on a new model for church growth. Sometimes referred to as house churches, cell churches, shepherding communities, or the New Testament model, the authors have advocated a structural shift in how the church functions. This idea is based upon a belief that home-based worship is more authentic, effective and biblical.
As we have researched the home church movement (and have participated in it in various degrees since the 1970s) we noticed that there was a thread throughout the movement, across denominational lines, that seemed to be corrupt, i.e., not built upon a truly biblical foundation. In recent years there has been a renewed interest and push for home-based fellowships. As we scanned the recent proliferation of literature on the topic it became more evident that something was amiss. This article is an attempt to isolate the "bad thread" or "dross" in the movement in order to warn the faithful who are genuinely intent on serving God. It is not our intention to bash home churches in this article, nor do we wish to dissuade people from participating in home churches. Rather, we hope to warn, based on our preliminary research on the topic, of some potential dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead in this rapidly burgeoning movement.
In writing this article, we have limited our research to readily available books and materials published on this subject. We suspect that there is much documentation archived in theological seminaries which is not as easily accessible to the public. We present to the reader our own findings, and speculative conclusions, but urge others to test our research, dig on their own, and see if these things be true.
As we shall see in this article, the common idea of home church is being replaced with a totally new structure, which only superficially resembles the genuine article. The terms "cell" church and "house" church are not synonymous, even though they are frequently used interchangeably.
In modern times, the origin of the concept of CELL churches is uncertain.
Did the concept spontaneously emerge through visions or insights given to several men at various times and locations three or four decades ago, as some of the leaders claim? Did it arise out of the Student Volunteer movement in the first half of this century which spawned the idealistic vision of reaching the world for Christ by the year 2000? Did it arise out of the house church structure in Red China, as many believe? Did it originate with Henrietta Mears and her "fellowship of the Burning Heart"?FN Was it taught by a few seminary professors in selected seminaries and carried to the church at large by students? The answer to this question proves to be important because, as you shall see, the diverse literature on this topic contains strikingly similar strands indicating that there was a common origination point or source.
The earliest book we could locate on the modern home church movement is vintage mid-50s, entitled Creating Christian Cells. This book is a series of articles about the positive spiritual successes of the new-style church that was being developed, mostly in conjunction with the Marble Collegiate Church in New York (Norman Vincent Peale's church). This book provides the earliest working definition of cell church, one which is nearly identical with definitions provided by cell church leaders decades later:
"The Christian Church began AS A SINGLE, SMALL GROUP FELLOWSHIP.
As it grew and divided, many such groups ("churches" or "parishes") were formed. The process resembled MITOSIS, or cell-division, in the biological world; hence, the term "cell." (forward) AA [Creating Christian Cells]
The next time we find a reference to the concept is in a statement by Juan Carlos Ortiz, who presented his views on the new church structure to a conference of pastors meeting at Montreat, North Carolina, home of Billy Graham, in the early 70s. His message, "the basic principles for restoring the Kingdom of God here on earth through the unity of the body"3, was published and widely circulated. Ortiz began his experiment with the formation of cell churches in Argentina in the 1950s and his model has been widely replicated across the globe:
"`Cell' is a transitory name we used for a meeting of five or more persons for certain purposes. I say it is a transitory name because we don't see the word "cell" in the Bible. The proper name should be 'church in the home.' But the name 'church in the home' brings to mind the type of church we used to have. So we use the word 'cell' to show it is not a common meeting where they go to a home, open the Bible, read and discuss it, sing a chorus, then pray and go home. That's no advantage that's the same as we always did. Therefore we called our new meetings 'cells' because they were a completely different concept" (p. 103) [Call to Discipleship, 1975]
Ortiz placed the emphasis on evangelism (numbers), not discipleship:
"The early church knew nothing about Sunday schools. They knew the best way for believers to grow and multiply is not through Bible lectures, but through living cells. This means small groups of four or five persons who meet in homes under a leader so their lives may be shaped so they may mobilize and multiply themselves in other cells." (p. 29, Call)
The most famous leader of the cell church movement is Dr. Paul (David) Yonggi Cho who wrote a book Successful Home Cell Groups, published in 1981. He began a cell group structure in his church in the 1960s in Seoul, Korea. His first attempt to implement this structure in his church was turned down by his deacons. He then turned to his future mother-in-law and together they developed a plan to use women as leaders of the small groups, a plan which proved to be very successful in multiplying numbers of converts. Cho explained, "Another thing I learned about the cell-group churches in China is that 99 percent of the leaders are women. They took the leadership when the men were afraid to expose themselves as Christians." (p. 85)FF [Successful]
Cho's emphasis was also placed on evangelism (multiplying the numbers of new converts and dividing the cells when they reach a certain size) rather than discipleship:
"Our church has become a living organism. The home cell groups are living
cells, and they function much like the cells in the human body. In a living
organism, the cells grow and divide. Where once there was one cell, there
become two. Then there are four, then eight, then sixteen, and so forth.
Cells are not simply added to the body; they are multiplied by geometric progression." (p. 65)CC [Successful]
"There is only one way that the home cell group system will be successful in a church, if that system is to be used as a tool of evangelism."(p. 107, Successful)
In the 1970s, the cell church concept began to gain momentum in America. It was borrowed and adapted by numerous denominations. Some groups based their home churches on the encounter group model, emphasizing experientialism and humanistic psychology rather than biblical authority. For example,
"The house church movement borrows whatever skills and insights from contemporary education, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and the human potential movement may serve its purpose, whatever will enable persons to work and love more freely and sensitively, less defensively, secretively, tensely". (p. 33, Anderson)EE
"The experience of an individual is absolute. One person cannot deny another's experience. He can say that he has never had such an experience, but there the discussion ends. Truth is phenomenological. It is individually perceived, personally appropriated."
"All doctrines, creeds, and theologies emerge from the experience of individual persons; therefore, formulating theology is a secondary enterprise for religion." (p. 80, Anderson)DD
Yet another theory on the origin of cell churches was put forth by Sara Diamond, who wrote a book critical of the religious right. She attributes the idea to Henrietta Mears and her disciple, Bill Bright, who founded Campus Crusade:
"Under the influence of Sunday school teacher Henrietta Mears
who in 1949 had helped launch Billy Graham's career by sending 5,000 people
from her Hollywood Presbyterian Church to Graham's Los Angeles Crusade
-- [Bill] Bright developed the concept of "spiritual multiplication" using
"Christian cells." The idea was based on the symbol of a triangle: two
Christian students write their names on two sides of a triangle and on
the third side they write the name of an unsaved friend for whom
they pray and witness.
Once the new person joins the triangle, the "cell" splits into two more triangles in search of a third side. It was an organizational strategy intended to mimic (and defeat) Bright's conception of how communists organize." (p. 51, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Religious Right)FN
What became known as the "shepherding" movement in the 70s was a direct offshoot of the "cell" church concept. Shepherding quickly began to garner negative publicity because of its excesses and abuses:
"The word 'shepherding' is just one of the terms used to describe a form of organization and a set of inter-movement relationships that are prevalent though neither universal nor uniform within both the Protestant and Catholic 'charismatic' movements. Other terms used by this subset of the charismatic movement include: 'headship,' 'discipleship,' 'covenant relationships,' 'cell groups' and 'accountability groups.' 'Shepherding' involves an emphasis on the designation of 'spiritual authority' by one group of Christians over another. A common justification used to implement a hierarchical chain of command is the passage found in Ephesians 4:11 which describes the "five-fold ministry" of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers mandated by Christ to guide and protect the 'Body of Christ' until the second coming of the Lord." (p. 112, Diamond)FN
"It is unclear if the Fort Lauderdale Five derived the 'shepherding' teachings solely through their own collaboration or via the influence of pentecostals in other countries. Many of the folkloric accounts of the shepherding stories pay homage to Argentinian Assemblies of God pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz. His book, A Call to Discipleship, is considered a manual for shepherding pastors. He emphasizes the use of'cell groups' and a radical form of 'spiritual imitation' in which new converts learn the Christian tenets and lifestyle through direct obedience to a shepherd. …" (p. 115, Diamond)FN
The most influential shepherding community of the 70s was the Word of God Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which spawned a number of imitations and daughter churches. This church had (and continues to have) great influence on the politics of the religious right in this country. An excellent history of the origins of this particular movement can be found in Vengeance Is Ours by Al Dager FN. This church gained notoriety for its extremism in implementing 'cell' groups with a militaristic structure and cultish practices. This church is also the home church of Promise Keepers' founder, Bill McCartney, and continues to have much sway over the Promise Keepers ministry.FN The small group accountability structure of Promise Keepers is based on the cell church model utilized at the Ann Arbor WOG Church.FN
One organization, the Coalition on Revival, became so enamored of the shepherding concept that it incorporated it into its plan to enforce a universal church doctrine across denominational lines:
"While focusing primarily on leadership, the COR plan involves making full use of the rank-and-file members of supporting churches. The method is shepherding. A lengthy, unpublished draft of COR's 'Manifesto for the Christian Church' calls for all pastors to restructure their congregations into 'home cell groups' of no more than twelve members accountable to each other in personal matters. The document recommends that sheep be required to sign a legal statement to the effect that the or she will not take legal action if the church staff administers 'discipline' including public excommunication for behavior deemed unbiblical."
"A major effort must be launched to encourage all Bible-believing churches to establish within their structures home cell groups wherein all serious members of their congregations may enhance their Christian growth. These groups should be under the direction of the pastoral staff and church officers and should include the three ingredients of:
A. Honest sharing of one's inner and outer life and prayer for one's life by other group members.
B. Commitment to the other members of the group to the point of sacrifice.
C. Members holding each other mutually accountable to live in obedience to all commands in the Bible which apply to us today."
D. Aside from cell groups for sheep,
Grimstead's plan envisions cell groups
for pastors as well. In 1986, Grimstead organized pastors belonging to the National Association of Evangelicals into 'accountability groups.' (p. 129, Dager? Diamond?)
[Ed. Note: This just in -- COR has now disbanded, but it is safe to assume that other newly formed groups are picking up the projects, goals, and ideals of COR.]
[CELL CHURCHES HELPED TEAR DOWN DENOMINATIONAL WALLS]
Before proceeding, it is important to point out that the cell church
movement has always been extra-denominational, i.e. it has proliferated
both within and without established denominations. Some have charged that
it has been a chief vehicle for the cross-pollination of doctrinal ideas.
Others have charged that it has wreaked havoc with established orthodoxies based upon traditional doctrines, and has served as a vehicle to dismantle denominations.FN Indeed, much of the cell church literature is very derogatory towards denominations and traditions.FN There is some evidence that suggests that this is purposeful, with the intention of bringing down denominational barriers in order to erect a new church structure, global in scope, yet local in oversight. As you read the ensuing sections, this is an important point to keep in mind.
One of the prominent features of the church growth movement is a call for the return of the offices of apostle and prophet in the modern day church. C. Peter Wagner, one of the recognized leaders of the modern church growth movement, presented a paper at the National Symposium on the Post Denominational Church. At this seminar he outlined his view of a "New Apostolic Reformation," a phrase which he said will replace the term "postdenominationalism" which he had previously used to describe the transformation of the modern church.1 This new phrase has great significance because most literature on the cell church movement insists that the modern church cannot be effective or successful, and will not experience revival, unless the office of apostle is revived according to the earliest New Testament models.
For a traditional understanding of the office of apostle, we refer the reader to the sidebar on page ___ by Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones. (THIS IS EXCELLENT MATERIAL!!!) But what do the church reformers mean by the term "apostle"? David Cannistraci, in his book The Gift of Apostle, cited and recommended by C. Peter Wagner in his speech, provides some key definitions:
" …many Protestants interpret the gift of apostle as missionary."
"Our definition, however, is somewhat different. In this book, we are defining an 'apostle' as one who is called and sent by Christ to have the spiritual authority, character, gifts and abilities to successfully reach and establish people in Kingdom truth and order, especially through founding and overseeing local churches."
"Other definitions are important as well: Apostolic people are Christians
who support and participate in apostolic ministry, but are not actual apostles….
Apostolic churches are churches that recognize and relate to modern-day
apostles and are active in varying forms of apostolic ministry.
The apostolic movement is the Holy Spirit's worldwide activation of apostles and apostolic people to come together as part of a great revival on earth." (p. 29, Cannistraci)2
The doctrine of the necessity of the emergence of the gift of apostle is not new. There was a hint of this back in the mid 1950s.FN An essential feature of Ortiz's cell church structure in Argentina was the reintroduction of the office of apostle. Ortiz believed that modern-day apostles, like their New Testament predecessors, were to be endowed with infallibility and the ability to define doctrine.
"The apostles even defined the doctrine [in the early church]. As a
matter of fact, the Acts report that the people followed the doctrine of
the apostles not the doctrine of Jesus, but the doctrine of the apostles.
The things they wrote were infallible a concept we still believe.
They believed the apostles were led by the Holy Spirit in founding the
(p. 92, Ortiz)4
"When the pope says that he is infallible, he is not too far from the truth." (p. 92, Ortiz)5
The reason, we are told in the cell church literature, why apostles are so important is that they form the foundation of the church, and that without them, the church will be ineffective. There is a call for the return of the five-fold ministry, which means that all offices called for in [Scripture?-Ed] must be reinstituted and fully operating before unity (and thus, revival) can occur. Several verses are used to justify this:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Eph. 4:11-13)
One writer (Cannistraci) explains:
"As a foundational ministry, the apostle serves together with the prophet to lay the foundation for the entire temple of God, while receiving alignment and positioning from the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Without the apostle as a member of the ongoing foundation of the Church, we cannot fully become the temple of the living God. The apostle cannot be omitted as a primary member of the Body of Christ, or as a foundational structure of the temple of God." (p. 82-83) 6
As one can see from the illustration (see. p. __),7 a common diagram utilized in church growth literature is one which places the apostles and prophets at the foundation (some diagrams place Jesus below them), with the pastors, evangelists and teachers forming the pillars of the church, and the church body at the top. If one turns this diagram upside down, however, a greater sense of the full hierarchic picture emerges. Note that these offices have now been placed in between man and God. This becomes significant later in our discussion.
There are several key corollaries to the doctrine of the apostle in the writings on the new church movement. One is the necessity to reintroduce the office of apostle before the church can experience unity and, as a result of that unity, revival (including fulfillment of the Great Commission).
"We must have unity, and we must return to the kind of power the Early Church had if we plan to complete the Great Commission. To fulfill these priorities, we must see the gift of apostleship restored and added to a place of prominence equal to the other gifts." (p. 19, Cannistraci)8
"The emerging apostolic movement will be built on a sharp increase of the apostolic call to serve in the Kingdom. Like an army, this new apostolic company will throw down their nets and rise at the command of the Lord of Hosts. Hearing the call, they will aggressively engage the enemy, taking his territory in the greatest campaign in history: the evangelization of planet Earth before the second coming of the Lord Jesus." ( p. 46, Cannistraci)
Another key corollary is assigning territories to apostles:
"To separate in this case [referring to Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:2] means to set off by a boundary. The idea is to draw clear boundary lines to establish a definite territory within which the apostle is meant to operate with full authority. The apostle has a spiritual dominion and territory delineated by God. We are reminded that we should not cross the boundary lines that surround apostleship, or go too far with ambitious intrusion into any ministry to which we are not called. It also means to appoint to an office or position of authority, just as an ambassador is appointed by a head of state." (p. 69-70, Cannistraci)9
"The sphere of authority in combination with relational authority may lead us to another aspect of the apostle's authority that of regional or territorial apostleship. Roland Allen suggests that the apostles targeted entire regions… We believe that the Holy Spirit works among apostles to divide regions among them so that geographical areas (such as continents) can be uniformly penetrated…." (Cannistraci)
"If Satan has established territorial spirits to run the global battle against the Church, as many today believe, is it not possible that God also has established territorial apostles to help counteract their destructive activity?" …(p. 153-4, Cannistraci)11
The doctrine of apostolic territoriality appears to be linked to the new church teachings about the necessity of conducting spiritual warfare against the principalities. This is an increasingly popular doctrine that claims that effective church ministry cannot occur until the territorial spirits over a given region are dealt with through prayer and "confronting the powers" (see C. Peter Wagner's Confronting the Powers10, for example).
Much of the literature on this topic downplays old-fashioned evangelism
based upon the power of the Word of God, and exaggerates the significance
of the spiritual powers in the heavenlies. The practice (or "science" as
Peter Wagner calls it FN) of "spiritual mapping" is one such example. It must be pointed out that there are no New Testament examples of the Church challenging the demonic powers directly as millions of Christians are now being led to do.FN (Bill Randles books recommended here)
In Latter Rain (Manifest Sons of God) theology, which is foundational
to much of the signs and wonders movement, and which has greatly influenced
postdenominational thought, there is a post-apostolic stage the church
is destined to reach upon attaining unity and revival: i.e., perfection.
Travers and Jewel van der Merwe, quoting Kansas City "prophet" Bob Jones in their book Strange Fire, state:
"…There is a ministry after the five-fold called the ministry of perfection the Melchisedek Pristhood… your children will be moving into the ministries of Perfection… coming into that Divine Nature of Jesus Christ… they themselves will be that generation that's raised up to put death itself underneath their feet… because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity of the GOD-MAN!"12 (Strange Fire)
"Those who are overcomers believe they will never be sick or die and they will be here when Christ returns. They believe they are now living in the prophetic time when the Church is being restored and perfected by the five-fold ministries (apostles, prophets, etc.). The Elite (Overcomers) are now in the process of putting on immortality, perfection and godhood and taking dominion of the earth. The Church is about to birth the Man-child the Sons of God, the incarnation of Christ and brotherhood of Christ." (p. 45, Strange Fire)13
Finally, before leaving the discussion of the necessity of recreating the office of apostle, we must make a very important point. David Cannistraci writes:
"The word "apostle" sheds a great deal of light on the subject of the apostle's work and character. The original Greek word translated apostle is apostolos. It comes from a root word, meaning one who is sent forth or sent away from one place to another to accomplish a specific mission. The word "apostle" was used or [of?-Ed] men who were naval officers or merchant mariners responsible for an entire fleet of ships. It was also used to refer to an emissary or ambassador; to a fleet of ships or an expedition sent with a specific objective,…" (p. 85, Cannistraci)14
This interchange of the terms "apostle" with "ambassador" is significant
because Promise Keepers area leaders are called "ambassadors." As we proceed
with the rest of this article, it will become apparent that the "think
globally-act locally" mandate of the cell church movement is based upon
the same foundation as the postdenominational structure of Promise Keepers.
Are PK ambassadors representative of this new army of "apostles"?
Bill McCartney has been quoted as saying:
"Well, what we envision happening over the next four years is we want to develop a relationship with every church in the United States that names the name of Jesus Christ as lord and savior. And so we envision getting into every church and partnering with them in ministry and in prayer."
Another facet of the emerging emphasis on the office of apostle is a
new call to recognize Protestant "Fathers." As Promise Keepers have turned
the focus of men towards "fatherhood" in a psychological sense, there is
drumbeat beginning in the postdenominational church movement to re-introduce
the term "father" in reference to certain spiritual leaders.
Jack Hayford has written a book on the topic (Pastors of Promise):
The use of the title "Father," common in much of historic church tradition, has generally been separated from the truth in the term. Of course, in most Protestant circles, the idea of the congregation's spiritual leader being called "Father" is something generally met with objection. The grounds for protest are usually offered in Jesus' words: "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). The spirit of the immediate context of His prohibition seems to separate a title from a truth. … (p. 8) 15 [Hayford then proceeds to justify the use of this term.]
The earliest cell church literature on the topic appears to originate from Juan Carlos Ortiz, who said, …a church should never change pastors because it is a family, and the pastor should be the father. (p. 23)16 Cannistraci rekindles the idea in his current book:
"I predict that in the coming apostolic outpouring, a restoration of spiritual fathering will materialize, filling this void and releasing a movement of the fathers. …The apostolic movement will bring spiritual fathers to their places in the house of God, and spiritual fathers will help protect the movement from extremes and errors."(p. 117, Cannistraci)17
Cannistraci continues this theme, by inserting the Latter Rain doctrine of the "seed", which refers to a holy race of perfected man that will result from the prophesied revival:
"As spiritual fathers, apostles carry the seed of the next generation within their lives. They propagate and populate the kingdom of God through their ministries." (p. 123, Cannistraci)18
Significantly, Cannistraci also links the idea of apostleship and fatherhood to the term "tribe."19 This term is one that is found in the New Age education reform curricula, and it is based upon the idea of people being lumped together by a common denominator, such as race, language, age, skill level, etc. In the modern missions movement, which is closely connected to the postdenominational movement at the upper echelons,FN the term "affinity block" is used.FN In either case, the breakdown is usually along racial ("ethnicity") lines.FN
Much comment could be given here regarding the development of Protestant Fathers. Suffice it to say that this teaching is antithetical to orthodox Protestantism, offensive to traditional Catholics, and contrary to Scripture.
The office of apostle is not the only attempt to return to a more authentic
New Testament church model. The cell church plan necessitates a city-wide
church. This is based upon the belief that God only acknowledged one church
per area in the New Testament and that the work of the Holy Spirit is hamstrung
by division or disunity in the Body. A key feature of this new structured
church is the concept of city-wide elders, a governing board that directs
the affairs of all of the churches in a specified region.
Ortiz promoted this view in his presentation in the early 70s:
"Recently I was in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. I was told there are four hundred churches in that city. That is not true. There is one church broken into four hundred pieces. So we should find out how to put the pieces together, because there cannot be more than one church in each locality." (p. 97, Ortiz)
"This raises the question: Who are the pastors in a city like Charlotte? To begin with, there are no pastors of the churches of Charlotte, rather there are pastors of the church of Charlotte. …So in the plural ministry each pastor is an elder of the church of his city. Together they form the presbytery, the assembly of elders of the city. We are wrong when we appoint elders within our separate congregations. We cannot have elders within each congregation. Each part of the flock will have only one shepherd. One of the elders of the city will live with that group. That Methodist or Baptist congregation is just a part of the church supervised by one of the elders of the city." (p. 97, Ortiz)
"…The Word and the will of God for our lives today should come first to the group of pastors that get together in a certain city… The only guarantee the disciples have when they submit to an elder is that he is part of the presbytery of that city." (p. 100, Ortiz)
The Kansas City Metro Vineyard (notsure what it is called now??) published a newsletter in the early 90s which promoted their church as a model of the newly emerging church. This church has been closely associated with the signs and wonders movement. KC "Prophet" Rick Joyner prophesied that:
"Single presbyteries will form over cities and localities. These will be made up of pastors and leaders from all backgrounds. Their unity and harmony in purpose, as well as that of the various congregations, will become a marvel to the world". (p. 3, newsletter)
Joyner went on to predict that
"Some leaders will actually disband their organizations as they realize they are no longer relevant to what God is doing. Others will leave them behind to disband by themselves. Ultimately, all circles of ministry or influence with individual identities will dissolve into a single identity of simply being Christian for all who become part of this harvest. (p. 3, KC newsletter)
Another writer in the same newsletter explains how all of the churches in the city will be brought under one umbrella:
"Kansas City Fellowship is merely one small part of the church of the Lord Jesus of Kansas City comprised of approximately 3,000 believers. We have a vision for being one fellowship with one eldership, one financial structure, one vision and one strategy however this one fellowship may be comprised of as many as 50-100 congregations. This seems like a lot of congregations to function as one fellowship but when we recognize that there are over 1000 congregations in the Kansas City area then we begin to have a different perspective." (p. 10)
More recently, Dr. Joseph Aldrich of Multnomah Bible College has written:
"So how do you get Kingdom-building, denominationally-bound, doctrinally-separated leaders to recognize that in every city, there is only one Church and many congregations?" (p. 42, CITE)
And, Ed Silvoso, brother-in-law of evangelist Luis Palau, described the process used by his ministry, Harvest Evangelism to create a city-wide church in Resistencia, Argentina:
"It was agreed among the participating pastors that there is only one Church in the city that meets in many different congreations. As such, the pastors must see themselves as undershepherds serving under the only Chief Shepherd, Jesus Himself, and the various congregations in town must see themselves as part of, and interdependent upon, the other congregations" (p. 60, CITE)
Giving us further insight into this new doctrine of the city-wide church is Paul Cedar, CEO of Mission America and connected with AD 2000, and Joah Quam of Concerts of Prayer International:
"When we read a verse in the New Testament about the Church, our first inclination is to apply that verse exclusively to our local congregation. This initial response is based on our church culture and training. We rarely think of those instructions for the whole Church in a given city. Instead of substituting the Church in Denver or Portland for the Church in Ephesus, we automatically think of our Faith Presbyterian or Grace Baptist Church where we serve or worship. How different our interpretations of the Bible and even our church practices would be if we saw first the whole Church in the whole city." (p. 127 CITE)
The biggest distinction between house churches and cell churches is the locus of control. A typical house church is fully functioning, autonomous and directs its members to be individually accountable to God, a doctrine that re-emerged during Luther's Reformation and has been a mainstay of the Protestant church. The cell church, however, puts structures and individuals in between man and God. This new hierarchical model is dissimilar to previous models.
In the cell church model there are increasing layers of accountability and oversight, including some ominous implications that those churches that don't fit the mold or comply with certain requirements could be reprimanded or sanctioned. The best analogy we can use to describe the dangers of this system is to point out that it is very similar to the dangers that homeschoolers face. Just as their is a big plan to rope all homeschool families into the education reform net (for the purpose of State oversight, regulation and control), there is also a plan to bring all autonomous local churches and home churches into a big global church structure of accountability and control. Ralph Neighbour, who has written the textbook on cell church development, explains:
"In a Cell church, the Cell is the basic Christian community….In the Meta-Church, a cell is any small group that functions under the covering of the Church. As you can see, Cell is a very broad term in the Meta-Church model. In fact, in this broad understanding of the word "Cell," Cell churches would fall under the Meta-Church class, just as humans fall under the Mammal class (every Cell church could be classified as a Meta-Church, but every Meta-Church cannot be classified as a Cell church." (p. 7 ?Where Do We Go From Here?)
"The house groups were not independent from one another. They networked together from the first hour of their existence. This city-wide federation shows that the "house churches" combined to form a "local church." (p. 44, Neighbour)
Ralph Neighbour gives a detailed account of a new hierarchical model for cell churches. The cell church is interconnected with larger and more complex organizations, moving upwards on a regional scale, presumably until a global church order is established. (See the accompanying illustrations, exhibits ____.)
"Each cell has a servant-leader. For every five cells, there is a pastoral figure (often called a "Zone Servant") to counsel and guide the ministries. For every 25 cells and five Zone Servants, there must be a person to shepherd this flock of two to three hundred (often called a "Zone Pastor"). Working with the entire city-wide local church, men who are recognized as equippers provide guidance, teaching, and equipping to all the cells, called the "Ministry Team." (p. 45-46, Neighbour)
It is important to note that Neighbour and other writers emphasize the evangelistic function of cell churches. They are to continually grow and divide. Neighbour sets up a fairly rigid timetable for this to occur. Those who follow his model will find that the in-depth relationship building which is characteristic of the home church movement is absent in the cell church model. This is something that Cho delineates in great detail as well. The focus is on the QUANTITY of people brought into the kingdom, not the QUALITY of discipleship. This means that there is a cost in terms of human lives. There is a great risk of bonding with others in a group because the group will soon have to split. Even though the literature emphasizes relationship above many other Christian ideals, the true consequence of "cell mitosis" is superficiality and constant change. How can one become accountable to another who barely knows them? The groundwork is laid for shepherding abuses in this model.
Ironically, some of the rhetoric and plan of the church reform movement match up with the changes planned under education reform. A key example is the guarantee of "local control". While insisting that local cell churches will have "local control", the real message is that there will be a governing board (self-anointed, self-appointed, non-elected) of local elders charged with oversight. These elders will then report to "translocal" elders, and so on. Cannistraci explains:
"As we examine the interrelationships of local and translocal authority in Scripture, we find a wonderful balance. Apostles worked carefully with local churches and their leaderships, especially within churches they planted….
"In all this cooperation, the apostles' translocal authority never overrode local authorities. The principle of local autonomy and self-rule remained constant, while the authority of the apostles in council together was governing the broader scope of the work of God". (p. 151, Cannistraci)
"The nature of apostolic ministry necessitated local overseers (such as pastors and elders) to be placed in charge of the work of God. The apostle Paul ordained one such overseer named Timothy, and apparently Paul charged him with the oversight of several churches. Many believe that these men were recognized by the title "bishop" for their oversight of multiple congregations. …"
"We must be willing as a movement to practice the principles of interdependent cooperation, voluntary submission, local autonomy and mutual accountability." (p. 156, Cannistraci)
The key difference between this new structure and a traditional hierarchical model is this: this new model is built upon the premise of networking, a notably New Age concept that has found its way into the postdenominational church movement. Cannistraci explains:
"Network organizations are replacing organizations built around traditional hierarchies. The growing trend of network marketing makes products available through relationships between families, friends and business associates instead of depending on high overhead practices such as advertising or displays." (p. 186, Cannistraci)
"We need to view the kingdom of God as a giant net."
"How is the Kingdom of heaven like a net? The net illustrates how increase becomes possible when God's people are joined together like the interconnecting cords of a net. As the Body of Christ links in interconnecting relationships and share resources, we become powerful tools for catching lost souls." (p. 198, Cannistraci)
The concept of networking is important because the postdenominational church leaders are currently forming a global apostolic network, charged with governing the new hierarchical church structure.
"Church growth analysts are beginning to identify apostolic networks as a modern movement. World-changing leaders and movements are arising to establish progressive structures for families and ministries. The weaknesses of traditional denominationalism are succumbing to the strengths of apostolic networks." (p. 199, Cannistraci)
"An apostolic network can take many forms. Essentially, it is a band of autonomous churches and individual ministries that are voluntarily united in an organized structure….."
"Apostolic networks are different from most denominations because in networks, relationships (not policies and rules) are the main source of organizational strength." (p. 190)
"An even higher level of networking is on the horizon for the Church.
Networks forming in the emerging apostolic movement will noticeably benefit the Body of Christ…."
"The marvelous prospect of worldwide biblical unity would begin with apostles and heads of networks coming together for prayer, strategy and relationship…."
"One example of an attempt to unite apostles occurred in the United States. It was a popular charismatic Network of Christian Ministries (NCM). … The NCM had its origin in 1982 when network founders Emanuele Cannistraci (my uncle and spiritual father), Mel Davis, John Gimenez, and Charles Green discussed the need for a network that would blend the major streams of the charismatic movement in relational unity and harmony."(p. 194-5, Cannistraci describing the forerunner to what is now called the Antioch Network)
The current global apostolic network being formed is called the Antioch Network (see exhibit, p. ____). It is important to point out that there appears to be levels, or layers of new bureaucracy intended to replace the old denominational structures. While "apostle" is a term that is used for many in the varying levels of oversight, there is some indication that individuals holding "office" in these layers may be assigned titles such as bishop, elder, father, overseer, etc. depending on the area or region they oversee, the degree of responsibility they bear, and their "revelatory" anointing.
Just how far has transformational thinking infiltrated the modern church? One indication is the new style of church management. Applying big business principles to the church environment could possibly mean big bucks, especially if the changes result in monumental church growth. The emphasis here is also on quantity (expanding numbers), not necessarily quality (despite the use of total "quality" management techniques). In order to transform local churches, one leader calls for change agents:
"Christian leaders should be change agents…. We need to change. We need to move to higher ground. We need to mature in Christ…. Change only takes place in people when they are discontent. … But there are also those who are in the business of creating what might be called "positive discontent." (p. 408, Lyle Schaller, The New Reformation)
Another book recommended by C. Peter Wagner in his talk on postdenominationalism and the new apostolic structure of the church applies Total Quality Management to the new church structure. Perhaps you have never thought of your local church as a "high performance organization", but the church planners have:
"the central issue for all congregations, regardless of size, can be divided into three components: identifying a future constituency, nurturing and supporting visionary leadership, and creating a high performance organization." (p. 60, Schaller)
As in TQM, the focus is on building a team. Individualism is the big bad ogre that threatens church unity:
"…public education in the United States places a premium on individualism, self-reliance, and individual performance and, with the exception of a few team sports, such as basketball and soccer, does not offer the socializing experiences that enhance the skills, attitudes and values required to be an effective, competent, contributing, and happy member of a team." (p. 62, Schaller)
"…theological seminaries are designed to welcome persons who have excelled in an academic environment that rewards individualism and trains these students to go out and function as individuals, not as members of teams. …offering few experiences that will socialize students into appreciating the skills, attitudes and values required for effective team work." (p. 62, Schaller)
Further, your church needs to become an "efficient learning system", a TQM term. Note the parallels to the models we have been observing in education and workplace reform:
"The distinctive characteristic of the best of today's megachurches is that they are high-performance organizations. Among the relevant characteristics of the high-performance organization are these seven: (a) It is an efficient learning system workers are motivated, encouraged, enabled, and rewarded for learning how to improve performance; (b) the leaders model the importance of learning; (c) high expectations are projected in an internally coherent and challenging manner; (d) the reward system is supportive of high performance no one is punished for excellence; (e) the work environment is collegial, not hierarchical or adversarial; (f) no one seeks to hoard power; and (g) a premium is placed on being responsive to the customer." (p. 64, Schaller)
An outcome-based church? It seems a logical consequence of incorporating the philosophical foundations of TQM into the church:
"The third trend [in staffing churches for the 21st century) is to shift the focus from inputs to outcomes." (p. 88, Schaller)
Is it possible that the purpose of this structure is to dumb down the elect? There is a profound shift of emphasis here. Not only are church traditions denigrated, especially traditions based upon doctrines (an example would be reciting the Nicene Creed), but the literature on church growth ASSUMES a dumbed-down, wanna-be-entertained pew-warmer and does not call for raising the standards. "Give the people what they want" in the new marketplace church of today! The heart's yearning for the Gospel, which could take even Joe 6-pack into a stodgy old church just to find the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, is no longer acknowledged.
We have already pointed out that the chief focus on most cell group structures is evangelism and not discipleship. Ortiz went to great lengths to explain how his church only taught the Bible 11 times per year and the rest of the time demanded that people LIVE the faith by example (behavior) under the direction of their shepherd. Here are some of his views:
"Studying the epistle to the Hebrews, I came to chapter six, which I had never understood clearly. This time, however, a small light illuminated it. Here the author speaks of "leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ (repentance, faith, baptism, baptism in the Holy spirit, eternal judgment) and going on unto perfection." I could not imagine what it meant to leave these things and go forward. …All my sermons and studies were upon the themes that scripture called "rudiments." (p.9, Ortiz)
"…shepherds are not placed in the flock to give milk to the sheep. God provides milk to every mother to give her child. Ministers must take the sheep into maturity. God gave the church ministers to equip and perfect the saints. Yet most of the activities we have in the church are to maintain the saints rather than equip them." (p. 14, Ortiz)
"We need apostolic ministry …It means that we ministers do not have to bring forth sheep. The sheep must bring forth sheep. Not only are they to bring forth sheep, they also must feed the sheep with milk… This is what we call multiplication." (p. 16, Ortiz)
The writers for the cell church movement take great pains to separate their concept from the traditional purpose of Bible studies, sometimes even mocking them.FN So, is it a surprise when we read the following?
"A second illustration [of organizational change] is the elimination of the traditional approach to Christian education. This is replaced by the goal of transforming that congregation into a learning community.: (p. 89, Schaller)
A people who have no solid foundation based upon a knowledge of the Word of God are very easily tricked, deceived and manipulated. Further, they are very susceptible to a shepherding climate, where leaders distill the Word of God, interpret the Word, and enforce the Word of God for them. Even though many cell church leaders call for a 2nd Reformation, in reality, this reform brings the Protestant church perilously close to the dangers that caused the first Reformation. When you add a dumbed-down increasingly illiterate populace (as a result of modern educational methods) to a dumbed-down church that de-emphasizes the Word of God, it sets up the church for disastrous results.
Finally, traditional church boards of elders are to be replaced by a TQM-style "governing board" that will conduct strategic planning in a manner that would qualify them for the choicest positions on any modern education reform strategic planning committee.
"The third illustration [of organizational change] is the changing role of governing boards. Instead of perceiving their primary responsibility to be (a) overseeing the pastor, (b) telling people what they cannot do, and (c) hearing reports, more and more governing boards are (a) shrinking their size to be able to focus on performance rather than to emphasize their representative nature, (b) acting as long-range planning committees, (c) placing reaching new generations above perpetuating old traditions as a guideline in decision making, and (d) emphasizing innovation and performance above inputs and control as the primary goal in governance." (p. 89, Schaller)
It is also no surprise to read that one of the chief mechanisms for forging unity in communities where the city-wide church is to be implemented is the Delphi technique, a manipulative approach to man-made consensus. This process is described in detail in a passage by Phill Butler, a church "partnership" expert, in the book Loving Your City Into the Kingdom by Ted Haggard and Jack Hayford. Leaders are required to set differences aside in order to find common ground and develop a common vision for their community. This practice, of course, ensures that fundamentalist churches who still hold to biblical absolutes will be cast as "extremists" if they don't go along with the new "common ground" or "common vision" for their community. What will happen to these "fringe" churches when a city-wide elder board is established? Perhaps the answer can be found in the next section: ASSESSMENTS.
To accomplish this sort of strategic planning in the church, founded upon the methods and philosophies of TQM, requires the use of a "feedback mechanism". It should be no surprise, then, that we are beginning to find evidence of the increased usage of these assessment tools to evaluate and measure church growth. One of the major purposes of the shepherding structure was maximum effectiveness in oversight and accountability of the flock. At times this has been taken to extremes. Cho writes:
"…we have other ways of helping them to become caring evangelists. One way is through what we call "holy eavesdropping." Our cell leaders instruct the members of their group to be on the lookout for anyone who is having troubles." (p. 59, Cho)
Even today, a prominent feature of the cell church movement is the necessity of oversight and accountability. Computer databasing of personal member information, or forms that must be filled out, are submitted to elders for review on a regular basis. Ralph Neighbour is selling a computer databank program which allows neighborhood cell leaders to keep track of everyone in their locale in great detail (see exhibits ___).FN He also sells a spiritual gift inventory, which is a frequently mentioned tool in the cell church literature for ascertaining where to "place" people in the body ("lay mobilization"). Other complicated survey mechanisms and data compilation tools are available for those who turn to feedback mechanisms to evaluate their church's growth.FN
For those who are into "spiritual mapping", they can sign up for all sorts of tools to assist them in ascertaining the spiritual powers that need to be overcome over their cities and regions.FN Ted Haggard advocates the use of "new measurement systems" to implement citywide strategic partnerships to transform communities, including City Attitudes surveys. For measuring individual church progress he says:
"To assess where we are, we can look at our budgets, attendance records, asset accumulations and other indicators of our current ministry effectiveness (or at least size)." (p. 69)
Dr. Tony Evans has created The Urban Alternative Network (The AlterNet):
"a national network and coalition for Christian leaders who are committed
to brining about change in their community through a biblical moral standard.
His model bridges the church's new move into the social services arena (discussed later) with the postdenominational church model. The psychological feedback mechanisms employed by those who sign up under his "network" include:
"Individual Assessments use practical self-administering tools to help you assess your God-given mission and divine calling. The tools will look at core values and convictions, life experiences, spiritual gifts and personality patterns."
"Church Assessments examine each general aspect of church ministry including worship, Christian education, fellowship and discipleship, outreach and administration. The tool helps you as pastors and leaders to assess your individual leadership effectiveness; the effectiveness of the ministry area you lead and overall church effectiveness in fulfilling its mission and meeting the spiritual and felt needs of the local church body."
"Community Assessments help you to appraise the unique needs of your community so that the church can be more effective in addressing them. The assessment examines such areas as demographics, environment, history, strengths and weaknesses, and problems in the community. It also looks at the existing systems and efforts in the community which may already be at work. This could provide opportunities for partnership and prevent the duplication of efforts and resources."
CHURCH AND STATE
There is some indication that postdenominational church governance will fit neatly into the transformation of the rest of society, which we have already seen in evidence under education reform and school-to-work plans which slowly erode our representative form of government in favor of appointed boards and committees. Cell church structure de-emphasizes the individual and places a premium on the collective, often referring to the Body of Christ as an "organism" which is ever evolving towards a state of perfection and unity. We can find radical thoughts about church and government in the literature on cell churches:
"Democracy seems a necessary evil in most churches, and we had a very democratic church. The primitive church was not a democratic institution it was theocractic. God, the head, commanded. The apostles received the signs from the Lord and told the people what the Lord told them. The early church was commanded by the Lord the head not by the feet. Under the Head were the apostles. Under the apostles were the disciples. The power came from above, working downward. In our democratic system, however, the power is in the base, the feet, not in the head. The head must obey the orders of the feet." (p. 91-92, Ortiz)
"If the ministries and charismata are restored, they will bring an end to democracy. … The concept of episcopal authority is biblical. … We are not yet ready to solve the problem of which is the best form of government for the church. How can we have a biblical form of government in a nonbibilical church? In the Bible we find the church in only two dimensions: the universal or catholic church, and the local church. The universal church is the church of the whole earth. And the local church is the church at a certain locality. All the local churches together form the universal church. It is very easy to put a biblical type of government into this type of church." (p. 94-95, Ortiz)
Contrast this to one of the major premises of the first Reformation: an emphasis on an individual's standing before God:
"The biblical flow-of-power concept that our colonial forefathers set up, in both their civil governments, is this: power flows directly from God to the individual, who in turn voluntarily compacts with other God-responsible individuals at the local level in establishing both church and civil polity. In the church, authority is vested in a local body, the elders, who are ordained of God, but elected by the people. Thus, self-government arises from adhering to biblical precepts." (p. 5) ROSE
There are many evidences in cell church writings about the evolutionary nature of the corporate church. This is a Latter Rain cult doctrine which has been gradually infused into various church teachings and movements over the last several decades. One current writer has developed a new, gnostic eschatology in which not only is the church evolving, but Jesus Himself is unfolding before us as we "transform""
"In the most profound ways, the magnificence of the Lord will unfold before us. We will marvel at how God has humbled and brought low the kings of the earth. But one King shall ever rise in prominence. To Him every knee will bow."
"…all who love the Lord will change… In this season of transformation, we will know Him both in the fellowship of His sufferings and in the power of His resurrection. We will know the fulness of Christ. And it shall come to pass not because of our righteousness but because of His increasing fulness. He must increase and we must decrease until His Presence fills everything, everywhere, with Himself." (p. 36, Frangipane, Days of His Presence)
Travers and Jewel van der Merwe explain this Latter Rain doctrine of the evolving church, which indicates that some believe the church is evolving into a new order :
"God is forming an overcoming company within the body of Christ called, among other names, "The Manchild Company,etc." (Rev. 12:5) The Manchild is the true church. Those that are the real Christians are the Overcomers (Rev. 2 & 3) and are becoming more and more perfected so that they will be able to drive Satan from the world. This must be done before Jesus can return. They believe that the church is not ready for the coming of the Lord. They are not looking for His imminent coming. They believe that Christ must come TO is Church before He comes FOR His Church."
"All do not necessarily use this terminology, but the premises are the same. The language is becoming increasingly militant as the "Army of God," "Gideon's Army" or "Joel's Army" take shape. A common thread is that they are expecting a "New Order": "In all revolutions there are noisy and dangerous times as the OLD ORDER is replaced by the new… after the dust settles, we can proceed to build the beautiful kingdom that the Lord has purposed from the foundations of the World," says Vinson Synan, one of the leaders of AD 2000." (p. 40) (Strange Fire)
(quoting tape recording of William Swift, MSG): "But the purpose of God reaches from before the foundation of the world. It plans the transplanting of his sons and daughters. It plans the creation of a NEW ORDER [the elite] on the earth and thus it transplanted celestial children to a physical world. It brought them forth into being in the bodies of the Adamic race."
(quoting Bob Jones, Kansas City "prophet", 1988 tape): "I have called the best of every blood line in earth unto this generation… I have elected to bring them forth in this generation… the ELECT GENERATION." (p. 41, Strange Fire)
Barron (Heaven On Earth?): The first of those prescriptions [Earl Paulk's for demonstrating the kingdom in every sphere of life] is church unity. "Christ cannot return to earth until His Church is joined in spiritual unity of faith." Christians should settle their controversies privately and present a united front to the unbelieving world. "True born-again believers' should never be separated by matters of doctrine that are less important than "coming into the unity of faith."
Second is the restoration of the "five-fold ministry," as dictated in Ephesians 4, which states that God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the purpose of building up the church. These ministers are to lead the church into unity of faith, and their proper functioning is vital; they are "the only means by which God imports His [continuing] revelation to us." "Man has no right to private interpretation of the Word of God apart from those whom God sets in the Church as spiritual teachers and elders."
David Cannistraci: God promised that prior to the second coming of Christ,
a restoration would occur a setting back in order within the
Cannistraci: We will see such an explosion in the next apostolic wave. As God's people rise up in an exciting new unity, direction will come and movement will be detected. Some might ask, "What will this wave mean in terms of the unity of the Body of Christ?" I cannot say for sure how it iwill happen, but I am certain that somehow this wave will usher in a greater organic unity in the Church. (p. 42)
Apostolic Unity Latter Rain
Cannistraci: The apostle is part of the fivefold cord God has created to tie the Body of Christ together in unity. George R. Hatwin (sic), a Canadian teacher active in the 1940s and '50s, wrote, "There shall never be any unity of faith until the ministry of the true apostle is recognized and obeyed as strictly in the last days as it was obeyed in the days of the apostle Paul."
He went on to note, "Any attempts to pray, organize, reconcile, or repent will be inadequate to produce church unity unless the apostles emerge, for apostolic ministry is the very essence of unity." (p. 196)
Ralph Martin, Fire on the Earth: [The basic Gospel message of salvation] … involves as an essential element the tangible unity of Christians all the Christians in each geographic location, and the communion and relatedness of such communities around the world. Salvation means being knit and joined to our fellow Christians with our whole selves in a way that changes our lifestyle from individualistic to communitarian, so that the world (not just isolated individuals or groups) may believe. (p. 226)
Martin: We are the living stones of the temple God intends to restore; he is fitting us together as a unified building for the glory of his name - a revelation of his glory to the world and an instrument of love and wrath in his hands. …[God wants to restore to the whole Christian people] tangible unity among all the Christians in each geographical area; the wisdom of preserving unity within a far-flung expanse of local churches. (p. 49)
Spiritual Warfare Unit
Martin: God is not only building a temple, he is gathering an army of men, women, and children who are united under headship and able to fight as a unit in the spiritual warfare that is quickening in tempo. (p. 58)
Big Bad Denominations
Martin: If Christian unity is ever to actually serve as testimony to the world, the people of the world must be able to see that it exists. That means that the Christians in each town and city will have to begin to function in visible unity. This was one of the great strengths of the New Testament Church: there was one united body of Christians in each town. The denominational divisions that now separate Christians within the same geographical area are one of Satan's greatest victories and a chief obstacle to successful evangelization…. So long as the renewal remained within strictly denominational bounds, the non-Christians living on that block would still not see their Christian neightbors united in a practical, life-giving way. (p. 61)
Uniting with Other Churches
Martin: We would like only to renew our own church, and not go through
the personal and corporate changes necessary for union with other churches.
Wagner, C. Peter, Strategies for Church Growth: The technical description of a people movement to Christ is "a multiindividual, mutually interdependent conversion." This means that many persons simultaneously decide to follow Christ. They arrive at that point by a group decision-making process in which the issues are fully discussed until the whole group comes to a consensus. Many peoples use this kind of decision-making process not only for conversion to Christ, but for all important matters which touch the life of the community. (p. 186)
Perspectives Course: The fourth principle is to try to get group decisions
for Christ. If only one person decides to follow Jesus, do not baptize
him immediately. Say to him, "You and I will work together to lead another
five, or 10, or God willing, 50 of your people to accept Jesus Christ as
Savior so that when you are baptized, you will be baptized with them."
Bringing in the King
George Otis, The Last of the Giants: While it is obvious to all but a few hyper-Calvinists that current ministry resource-to-need ratios are not a reflection of divine mathematics, mere recognition of the problem is not enough. The Church needs to act and act decisively. If Christians especially in the West are truly serious about fulfillng the Great Commission and bringing back the King, then a major redeployment of personnel and finances is in order. (p. 228)
George Otis: This new way of seeing I have labeled spiritual mapping.
It involves superimposing our understanding of forces and events in the
spiritual domain onto places and circumstances in the material world. The
result is often a set of borders, capitals and battlefronts that differ
notably from those we have come to associate with the political status
On this new map of the world, the three spiritual superpowers we have examines Hinduism, materialism, Islam are not entities in themselves.
They are, rather, the means by which an extensive hierarchy of powerful demonic authorities control billions of people. (p. 85-86)
At this point we must stop and review the biblical aspects of what we have just covered. Is the church the body, the Bride of Christ a living organism, as these writers describe? Many scriptures are used to justify this analogy, such as ______ (cite). Here are two examples of this same teaching from recent writings representing different theological perspectives:
Is there a way, other than by denominational affiliation, to be both Presbyterian and Reformed? We think so. Let's call this way "Organic Reformed." That's "organic" as in "derived from a living organism." That's "living organism," as in the church of Jesus Christ. (p. 32)
The Church is far more than an organization. It is an organism living, changing and growing. Rather than being frozen in time, it develops and adapts to changing circumstances while retaining its essential nature and mission. (p. 180)
Anderson, Philip and Phoebe, The House Church (Nashville, NY: Abingdon Press) 1975.
Barron, Bruce. Heaven on Earth? The Social & Political Agendas of Dominion Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan) 1992.
Cannistraci, David. The Gift of Apostle: A Biblical Look at Apostleship and How God Is Using It to Bless His Church Today (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) 1996.
Cho, Dr. Paul Yonggi. Successful Home Cell Groups (S. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Pub. Co.) 1981.
Diamond, Sara. Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (Boston, MA: South End Press) 1989.
Frangipane, Francis. The Days of His Presence. (Cedar Rapids, IA: Arrow Publications) 1996.
Grimstead, Jay, Church Council Steering Committee of COR letter, dated May 1993.
Hayford, Jack. Pastors of Promise: A Passionate and Practical Approach to a Shepherd's Fopur Areas of Calling (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) from a booklet that published a portion of the book.
Joyner Rick, "A Vision of the Harvest," Grace City Report, Fall 1989.
Martin, Ralph. Fire on the Earth: What God Is Doing in the World Today (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books) no copyright date, but appears to be in the 70s.
Neighbour, Ralph W., Jr. Where Do We Go From Here? A Guidebook for the Cell Group Church (Houston, TX: Touch Publications) 1990.
Neighbour, Ralph. W., Jr. "How New Is Your Wineskin?" Cell Church Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2.
Ortiz, Juan Carlos. Call to Discipleship (Plainfield, NJ: Logos Intl.) 1975.
Otis, George, Jr. The Last of the Giants: Lifting the Veil on Islam and the End Times (Tarrytown, NY: Chosen Books) 1991.
Rutz, James H. The Open Church (Auburn, ME: The SeedSowers) 1992.
Schaller, Lyle E. The New Reformation: Tomorrow Arrived Yesterday (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press) 1995.
Schlissel, Steve M. "Re-thinking Church Some More," Chalcedon Report, June 1997, p. 31-32.
Sullivant, Michael, "What Is Grace Ministries?" and "A Commitment to the City Church," Grace Ministries Report, Fall 1989.
Van der Merwe, Travers and Jewel. Strange Fire: The Rise of Gnosticism in the Church (Des Moines, IA: Conscience Press) 1996.
Wagner, C. Peter. Strategies for Church Growth (Ventura, CA: Regal Books) 1987.
"Perspectives on the World Christian Movement by Steven Hawthorne and Ralph Winter, Wm. Carey Library, 1987. World Mission: An Analysis of the World Christian Movement: The Strategic Dimension, Part Two.
19. Cannistraci: The first level of authority is corporate authority, where an apostle heads up a group of people or ministries that relate to him as a father. This group of people could be referred to figuratively as a "house" or "tribe." (p. 125)
[These are the end of the notes up to this point in this research.]
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