Truth Matters March 2013 Newsletter

4 04 2013

I’ll Do It My Way!
By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Recently while on Facebook (Truth Matters readers can talk with me daily on FB throughout the week, it runs in the background of our system in my office)[i] a woman wrote of her lament over not having a good local congregation in her area.  Either the assemblies were “Word of Faith nonsense” or “have coffee bars in their narthex.”  I understand her plight!  It can be difficult to find a solid biblically-based place to go and worship.

I asked some probing questions which were ignored and she got to what she really wanted —- validation of her position which she now made clear to us on FB.  She wanted to know (really, wanted approval) what people thought of her gathering with a few like-minded people in their homes for “Church.”  After all didn’t Jesus say that where two or more are gathered in His name, that He was there (see Matthew 18:20) she asked rhetorically.

Many people wrote back encouraging her to leave The Church[ii] in its current form and to start a home-church group.  Some suggested books that would corroborate her new path. These responses were not too shocking to read, Tracy and I had already been through the “cell-groups” and “home-group” stuff back in the 1980’s via Dr. Paul Cho[iii] and others and was somewhat familiar with the initial concept.  Initially small groups were to augment the message delivered by the pastor on Sunday during the week in small settings.  Also they were to help people become ‘part’ of large congregations through intimate informal home connections.

However, this is no longer the goal for what has named itself a “movement” (Home Church Movement). No longer do they see their role as assisting the local church instead they are calling for people to flee organized Christianity[iv] and instead attend small house church meetings because in their view organized Christian worship is a failure and does not honor God.

Why Do People Attend a “House” Church?

         Although there can be various reasons, based on my experience, speaking with others and research the reason people leave the established Church and seek out another venue to express their spirituality is because they were hurt in the Church.       For some people their experience was that the Church asked too much of them.  These folks worked and worked, they fasted, went to the prayer meetings, tithed off the gross, passed out religious tracts and eventually they simply burned out from their efforts.  This is an all too common occurrence in many congregations.  I have personally seen, experienced and taught (out of my ignorance and to my shame) the treadmill system of evangelical works in Pentecostalism, among the Baptists and other groups.  This form of spiritual abuse stems from a confusion of God’s law and gospel.  People eventually get tired, they tried their best and they know their best is not good enough to placate a holy God so they begin to seek out others who are burnt out, tired wounded workers to commiserate with in a more “intimate” and “informal” setting.

Some others leave the Church because their “gifts” are not being recognized by the leaders of the congregation and they are not being used properly (in their minds anyway) and so they leave.  These type of individuals are usually pretty easy to spot in a congregation because they will be outspoken, always seeking a leadership role in anything that opens up (each position is a steppingstone in their minds to get to the pulpit).  Many times these people will try to begin home “Bible” studies apart from any pastoral authority and oversight or gather a few like-minded souls for small prayer meetings, in which they really prey on the local congregation, its pastor and leaders.  These meetings generally focus on any problems the congregation is undergoing.  Having been in such meetings as well as being the target of such meetings I can assure you that the end result will be division and strife.  How so?  Eventually something is said or taught that gets back to the pastor and/or elders and correction is attempted to be implemented and the result is usually not reconciliation but a rift, and the hurt pseudo-leaders will leave and often take a few kindred souls with them.  Take them where?  To their home, after all they are NOT giving up on ‘God’ just the flawed man-made religious system which they know to be unbiblical.

The House Church movement (HCM) is comprised of people who have been wounded, rightly or wrongly in the Church along with rebellious souls who have a “better” idea of how to do Church.  The HCM was not founded on any theological basis nor is it a reform movement to correct pervasive errors in the Church.  People attend the HCM because they have been (or currently are) hurt and wounded in or by the Church and people lead these meetings to showcase their perceived gifts and talents, even on such a small scale.

HCM Justification

         Keeping in mind that these HCM folks are Christians[v] they do appeal to the Bible as their guide.  The main proof text they all cite is from the lips of our Lord Himself:

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:19-20

There it is in red letters in many Bibles!  Where two or more are gathered in my name, then Jesus has promised to be in the middle of them.  In their own words:

The fellowship pictured in Mt. 18:20 (the source of the house church doctrine of church) is “two or three gathered together.” Even “church growth” expert Lyle Schaller says that the “glue” that is necessary to unite worshippers cannot be achieved as a church grows beyond a limit of about 40 people. Other experts point out that an assembly larger than a mere dozen people creates an environment in which some of the people often back away from full participation. And there is the concern so well-articulated by that the institutional church tends toward viewing its members as an “audience” and the worship experience as a “show.” It is better, he said, to view God as the audience and all the people equally accountable for the “performance” of worshipping in Spirit and in Truth.[vi]

The “source” of this movement is one text, Mt. 18:20 that speaks of nothing regarding the structure or worship of the Church.  What our Lord says is that when as few as two or three are gathered in (or around) His name He is present period.  Jesus set no limits on the number of people gathered, He says nothing here about the format of worship, and the focus is the unity that occurs when gathered in and around His name.  From this foundational text they proceed to build their house of cards.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:38-47

Familiar passages where newly empowered Peter stands and delivers the Word of God and at least three thousand people (1) gladly received his word and (2) were baptized.  Then what happened to them?  These three thousand souls continued steadfastly (1) the apostles` doctrine; (2) broke bread together; and (3) joined in prayers.  They continued in DAILY united in purpose (one accord) in the temple.

68.68 προσκαρτερέωa; προσκαρτέρησις, εως f: to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty—‘to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in.’ προσκαρτερέωa: τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτεροῦντες ‘devote yourselves to prayer’ Ro 12:12. προσκαρτέρησις: εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων ‘for this reason, be alert and always keep on praying for all God’s people’ Eph 6:18.[vii]

They were formally instructed by the apostles in the temple daily and not in individual houses.  They went to the temple at specific times to offer prayer (see Luke 18:10; Acts 2:15; Acts 3:1).  Instruction and worship originally took place in the temple at Jerusalem.

The apostles went from “house to house” breaking bread for fellowship with the newly formed family of God.  There was simply no way for three thousand people to sit down together and fellowship and interact with the apostles, not to mention the fact that no meals were served on the Temple grounds per se.  As a confessional Lutheran when I hear “breaking of bread” I immediately think “Lord’s Supper” but my thinking may not be correct —-

Breaking of bread – The Syriac renders this “the Eucharist” or the Lord’s Supper. It cannot, however, be determined whether this refers to their partaking of their ordinary food together, or to feasts of charity, or to the Lord’s Supper. The bread of the Hebrews was made commonly into cakes, thin, hard, and brittle, so that it was broken instead of being cut. Hence, to denote “intimacy or friendship,” the phrase “to break bread together” would be very expressive in the same way as the Greeks denoted it by drinking together, συμπόσιον sumposion. From the expression used in Acts 2:44, compare with Acts 2:46, that they had all things common, it would rather seem to be implied that this referred to the participation of their ordinary meals. The action of breaking bread was commonly performed by the master or head of a family immediately after asking a blessing (Lightfoot).[viii]

Whether it was a Eucharistic meal or not this is when they gathered in smaller groups in individual homes.  The early Christians continued in the Temple until persecution came and we know that Paul’s practice was to go into the local synagogues and preach Christ until he was ejected (see Acts 9:20; 13:16-41; 17:1-4, etc.).  With further and more intense persecution by the Jews, who appealed to Rome to stop the Christians (who were initially viewed as a Jewish sect by the Romans) and then the Roman authorities also joined in and took over the official persecution of the Church.

Like hot coals scattered abroad due to persecution the fledgling Church began to grow wherever God’s liberating Word was proclaimed.  Due to the religious persecution by Rome the early Christians met in small groups, in catacombs and cemeteries.  Many were converted as slaves and had no property or place of their own, so they got together surreptitiously. For the HCM sectarians this fledgling state was the “golden age” of the Church.  Small groups, getting together to pray, sing a song and share a meal is all that God ever had in mind for the Church in their minds.   These people had fallen into a common mistake made by every restorationist sect and cult in history — they take the Book of Acts for a pattern for doing Church.  The Book of Acts is an historical account of the birth of the Church; it is not a manual for church growth.                 According to the HCM the pure Church only lasted a little over 300 years:

The house church movement saw the church as having “fallen,” and probably would have dated that fall in AD 313, when the Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which gave Christians tolerance in the Roman Empire. Later, in 380, Christianity became mandatory for Roman citizenship. Many in the institutional church today still regard these events as a great and glorious day for Christ, but the radical reformers saw in it a tremendous evil. Constantine began a process that changed the church from a persecuted minority to the status of royalty. When he summoned the bishops to Nicaea for the First Ecumenical Council in 325, he had them all arrayed in robes of royalty and saw to their comfort as honored guests of state. He doted over the bishops who had suffered crippling injury during the persecutions of Christianity. It is not hard to see how these bishops saw in this radical change in their social status the very fulfillment of the promises of God–the state would help the church reform the world and then Christ would return to reign.[ix]

The HCM plays fast and loose with both biblical history and Church history.  An excellent resource detailing their misrepresentations is their own book entitled Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna.[x]  Today’s HCM consider themselves today’s ‘radical reformers’ and they are indeed radical.  How radical are they?

As startling as it may sound, almost everything that is done in our contemporary churches has no basis in the Bible.[xi]

Most Christians who claim to uphold the integrity of God’s Word have never sought to see if what they do every Sunday has any scriptural backing.  How do we know this?  Because if they did, it would lead them to some very disturbing conclusions that would compel them by conscience to forever abandon what they are doing.[xii]

A great deal of what we Christians do for Sunday morning church did not come from Jesus Christ, the apostles, or the Scriptures.  Nor did it come from Judaism.[xiii]

This is how the radical HCM begins one of its major apologies for their existence.  Their contention is that basically everything we are doing today in The Church has no basis in the Bible, in Christ or His apostles nor does what we do come from Judaism.  In their warped view everything we know as “Church” really came in with and through Constantine and his recognition of the Church.

As unorthodox as many ‘contemporary’ services are they still have enough of a shell or veneer to be called Christian.  Having come from a background of off-the-hook sign-gift enthusiasm I can attest that those services did have prayer, praise and worship songs, baptized folks in water, some form of preaching/teaching from the Bible. They usually offered a Sunday school class for the various age groups and offerings were taken up for various needs, etc.  All of these expressions can be found in the Scriptures, apart from Sunday school which is simply a more modern way of saying “catechism” which was the original practice of the Church.

A Few Of The HCM Complaints

Temples, Priests, and Sacrifices

Ancient Judaism was centered on three things, the Temple, the priesthood and the sacrifice.  With the resurrection of Jesus Christ He ended all three.  He Himself is the temple (see John 2:19), He established a new order of the priesthood with Himself being our great High priest (see Hebrews 4:14) and Jesus is the once and for all sacrifice (see Hebrews 7:27; 9:14, 25-28; 1 Peter 3:18). “Consequently, the Temple, the professional priesthood, and the sacrifice of Judaism all passed away with the coming of Jesus Christ.”[xiv]

Without dispute Christ Jesus fulfilled the law (see Matthew 5:17) and established a new covenant (see Hebrews 12:24) but even under the new covenant our expression of faith and love towards the Living God has not changed.

The physical Temple was destroyed in 70 AD — however, in God’s new order all the believers in Christ are now being built into a building made without hands.  Each member is a ‘living stone’ (see 1 Peter 2:5) being built into a spiritual house (temple).  On the macro level collectively the people are “The Church,” we are an organism and not a physical structure. On a micro level each individual believer’s own body is considered now a “temple” of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 6:19).

The HCM trumpets that until the year 300 “we know of no buildings first built as churches.”[xv]  In their darkened thinking they wrongly assume that specific places for people to gather and receive God’s gifts were in fact some form of paganism.  This is simply not true.  To begin with they fail to recognize the deep and brutal nature of the persecution experienced by the first Christians (post the 70 AD dispersion).  The early Christians met when and where they could while being persecuted, this history is well documented for anyone to study.  We do know that as early as (approximately) 190 AD Clement of Alexandria first used the phrase “go to church.”[xvi] This says to me that very early on believers had already developed the understanding that there was a known location (the church) for the Church (the people) to go and worship at.

With the conversion of Constantine believers for the first time in over 200 years could openly and freely live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ without fear of imprisonment, torture and death.  It is common to human nature for people to gather together around shared beliefs, always have and always will.  The fact that disciples of Jesus pooled their resources (as was seen initially in Acts 2:44) to either buy or build places that could hold more people, much along the lines of the local synagogues of Judaism; is not a “bad” thing nor is it of pagan origins.  There is absolutely nothing in the N.T. that dictates the style, location or capacity of where God’s people chose to meet.  It seems that our Lord is not so concerned about the location of where we worship as the HCM would have us believe.

Next the HCM decries the established clergy.  They proclaim that there is no such thing in the N.T. as seminaries and a separate class of people who function as “priests” before God on behalf of the people.  We are all priests now in Christ, ergo we have no need of anyone to teach us, since we all can learn from the Lord. . . This is their mindset, and it is seriously flawed.  While it is true that all of God’s children are now a nation of priests and kings (see 1 Peter 2:9) it is equally true that God has placed ministry gifts in the Body to preach, teach, lead and counsel the people of God (see 1 Cor. 12:28).  If believers become omni-competent at conversion, then why set in place apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists, bishops, elders and deacons to help us grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord?  While it is most certainly true that I do not need any man to go before the Lord on my behalf (see Eph. 3:13) I can come boldly (not rudely) to the throne of grace and obtain mercy to help in the time of need (see Hebrews 4:16); I do still need more learned men to instruct me (see 2 Tim. 2:2). The Bible has much to say regarding the financial compensation of those called into the ministry.

Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink?  Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?  Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?  Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?  Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?  If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Cor. 9:3-14

This discourse by Paul, defending his apostleship, states unequivocally that those who “preach the gospel should live of the gospel,” those who minister are to be supported.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reasonable that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:1-4

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward1 Timothy 5:17

The passages from Acts 6 show us a burgeoning multicultural Church that needed seven (7) men to assist in the food distribution to the needy.  This congregation agreed that the best use of their leaders was to free them to devote themselves to (1) prayer and (2) the ministry of God’s Word.  It was not that these men were “above” serving the widows; it was simply not reasonable or practical for them to use their time in that fashion.  Later on Paul instructs Timothy that those who rule well are worthy of double honor:

60.75 διπλοῦς,, οῦν: twice the quantity—‘twice as much, double.’ οἱ καλῶς προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι διπλῆς τιμῆς ἀξιούσθωσαν ‘those elders who do good work should be regarded as worthy of double honor’ or more probably ‘… double pay[xvii]

Paul needed to remind Timothy of the great value of having learned men who were faithful in their duties as elders of the people.

What is the response of the HCM to these texts and Church practice of having trained and paid ministers?  They ignore these bothersome texts and with laser-like focus narrow in on the following text:

How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Cor. 13:26

They misread the above text as do almost all enthusiasts.  To them it means that when folks come together that everyone has a psalm, a doctrine, tongue, a revelation or an interpretation.  In their minds this verse says “we are all equally gifted by God and can share in public.”  Paul was not saying this at all!  He was astounded in wonder at how was it possible for them all to come together and everyone try to contribute something to the “stew” of worship.  The result was an unedifying chaos of messages in other tongues, “revelations” and interpretations.  Paul is not encouraging this sort of behavior, he decries it and shows the Corinthians a better way.

Lastly, in this opening phase of the book the authors deal with sacrifice.  Christ Jesus put an end to the sacrificial system through His own death on the cross.  The HCM is correct in their decrying of the “un-bloody sacrifice of the mass” as celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church.  Jesus died once for our sins (see Romans 6:10).  Yet we are in Christ a sacrificial people in that NOW we offer ourselves as living sacrifices unto our Lord (see Romans 12:1-2).  We offer to God a continual sacrifice of praise (see Hebrews 13:15) for His goodness to us in Christ Jesus.

Next the authors go on to decry the formation and current use of “church” buildings, including the steeple (p.31), the pulpit (p. 33) and the pews and balcony (p. 34).  Among their very weak complaints about church architecture they say “in addition, the church building is far less warm, personal, and friendly than someone’s home — the organic meeting place of the early Christians” (p.40).  Also, they complain about the cost of building cathedrals and the overhead of running any size “church” building.  They sound to me like those who squealed about the cost of the nard the woman poured on our Lord (see Mark 14:3).

To begin with none of their arguments regarding the shape, size or layout of the buildings we meet in have any support in Scripture.  They simply do not like the shape, size and layout of church buildings.  Every congregation I have been a part of has entered into some form of a building program.  What business is it of anyone if a group of people voluntarily pool together their talent, time and treasure and agree to build a building however grand or humble?

They decry the fact that over 230 billion dollars of property is owned by The Church in America -– “…Christians are spending an astronomical amount of money on their buildings” (p. 41).  If we were doing so at the expense of the poor in our midst and missionary/evangelical outreaches then things have gotten a bit out of whack.

When it comes to money let us be honest.  How many hospitals, schools and colleges have been built by little house church groups?  NONE!  How many millions of dollars are sent annually by these groups overseas? NO MILLIONS SENT AT ALL!  Yet for all their faults and foibles the organized (gasp!) Church has been used by our Lord Jesus Christ to spread the wealth globally since the time of Paul (see 1 Cor. 16:1).  Who can “do” more a group of six people or a group of 100?

Lastly, what do these HCM people read in their Bibles?  When Moses began to build the Tabernacle the people gave lavish amounts (see Exodus 35).  The outside was made of badger skins, but inside it was beautiful, fitted with fine cloth, gold and silver.  The place where God visited His people was very costly to make.  If you want to check the math just on the precious metals alone the cost is as follows:

35,276.73 Ounces of Gold X $1382.96 = $48,786,306.52
3,594,982.60 Ounces of Silver X $29.80 = $3,594,982.60
90,445.90 Ounces of Copper X $0.28 = $25,324.85
Total = $52,406,613.97[xviii]

When you add in the cost of the materials, skins and everything else that went into constructing the Tabernacle the total cost is just over $57,000,000 in today’s currency.  Now move over into the N.T. and read that God’s own streets are paved with pure gold (see Rev. 21:21). . . what do you think His throne is made of? (Hint — Ez. 1:26 tells us it seems to be made of a sapphire) and we know that each of the 12 gates are each made of a pearl (Rev. 21:21).  My point is simply this — why shouldn’t a people whom have been RANSOMED from eternal death FREELY through the sacrifice of God the Son on the cross BUILD structures that attempt to display the glory of the God that saved them?  I believe the structures we have built and do now build are expressions of gratitude, signs of numerical growth; they become central locations for the community to gather for religious and other purposes as well.  We commit no sin by building beautiful structures to the glory of God.

Probably the most egregious of their errors is the insistence that Church “buildings” began with the conversion of Constantine; that much is true due to the former persecution for over 100 years that the Church had undergone.  Where they err is in their insistence that the Church took all its patterns and structure, including our order of worship, from the pagans (pp.21-43).

Constantine introduced candles and the burning of incense as part of the Church service.[xix]

Under Constantine’s reign, the clergy, who had first worn everyday clothes, began dressing in special garments. . .The Roman custom of beginning a service with processional music was adopted as well.  For this purpose choirs were developed and brought into the Christian Church.[xx]

For three months I dealt with the origins of our liturgical worship in Truth Matters in 2012 entitled “The Eternality of the Liturgy” (available online on our Blog at www.newdiscernment.org) and proved how everything we do (at least in our congregations) is founded upon the clear teaching of Scripture.

Moses built the Tabernacle exactly as he was shown (Exodus 25:40) on the mountain.  Every fitting and design was revealed to them by God.  The ministers and the services were all detailed out exactly, nothing was left up to “Moses” to invent.  The Israelites used incense and candles in their services.  They also had a “choir” known as the Levites and they had processionals too.  Remember David bringing the ark back to Jerusalem?  They processed until Uzza reached out to try and help God (see 1 Chron. 13:10).  Later on when the ark is moved again David dances out of his clothes to music (see 2 Sam 6:14).

Brothers and sisters Viola and Barna are either grossly ignorant of Church history or they are being dishonest with their readers.  Candles, incense, music, choirs, liturgical robes/garments, bowing, offerings, chanting and kneeling are ALL found solidly within the pages of the Bible.  For these men to teach that such practices are not Judaic (p. 27) or Christian is simply to ignore the plethora of scriptures which speak specifically about each aspect of worship.  The few things I have cited have always been a part of the worship of the Living God and you can find them both in the O.T. and the N.T.  To say that these things are pagan and have no place in the worship of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ —- is to lie against the truth and mislead people.

For over 1,600 years the Lord Jesus Christ has been a failure as Head of the Church (see Col. 1:18) according to the HCM.  His Body appears to have become spastic after 321 AD and only recently with the restoration of the HCM is Jesus really beginning to assert His headship over His people.  This is the HCM’s position and I tremble for those who hold such a low view of the omnipotence of Christ and what He has been doing through His Body on earth historically since His ascension INSPITE of our fallen condition!

f feminine


[i] I will remind our readers that I take very seriously people’s prayer requests and the Internet is a very good way to communicate immediately.  Please do not hesitate to either call me (313)319-8673, e-mail me at bobliichow@gmail.com or privately chat with me on Facebook with any prayer requests or questions.  I usually end my letters with the ending “His servant and yours” and this is most certainly true.

[ii] I have been informed that I am wrong to capitalize “The Church” — when I capitalize ‘The Church’ I am referring to the Church Universal, hidden and manifest on earth and in heaven, the whole company of saints.  When I use ‘church’ in lower case it is usually referring to the local congregational expression vs. the universal Church.  I try to be consistent in my grammatical inconsistencies.

[iii] Dr. Paul Cho is the pastor of the largest church in the world.  It is located in Seoul Korea and is a WOF congregation and sadly extremely unsound theologically.

[iv] When saying organized they are referring to all Protestant denominations, all Roman Catholic & Eastern confessions and anyplace that has a specific building and meets on Sunday and/or Wednesday.

[v] Yes you can be a Christian and not attend a local Church of any kind ever.  However, you will be a miserable, lonely and ineffective in your Christian walk, not to mention extremely ignorant of much of what God’s Word has to offer, let alone the glorious gifts given in the sacraments weekly.

[vi] Obtained from http://www.hccentral.com/. Underlining added for emphasis.

[vii] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 662.

[x] Yes that George Barna of the various polls and statistics.  He too is now a devotee of the HCM.

[xi] Viola, Frank. Pagan Christianity, Published by Barna 2008, p. 4

[xii] Ibid. p. 5

[xiii] Ibid. p. 6

[xiv] Ibid. p. 11

[xv] Ibid. p. 12

[xvi] Clement, of Alexandria. The Instructor, Book 3 ch. 11.

[xvii] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 608.

[xix] Viola, Frank. Pagan Christianity, Published by Barna 2008, p.24

[xx] Viola, Frank. Pagan Christianity, Published by Barna 2008, p.25