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Posted by lavendergem on 2009.06.08 at 03:49
A very dear friend of mine, who has mentored me in the faith for over the past decade, is proposing an online group for prayer and discussion in hopes of seeking that common mind and unity of purpose we see described in Scripture, and in fact lived out historically in the first couple of centuries after Christ. I am sure the intention is not to simply remain in the realm of ideas and emails, but to get down to face-to-face discussion and Bible study.

If the following speaks to the yearning of your heart, or sounds like something you would like to participate in, please reply here, or email me, and we will be sure to include you in the group, plus any local meetings/studies that may arise from this.

God bless,


As I have posted earlier I would like to propose an additional discussion group for those who feel a need to accomplish something more concrete than we have as our goal in this discussion group. I would like to engage in prayerful study and dialogue – perhaps even face-to-face dialogue! -- with fellow disciples of Jesus, in which we actually come to a common mind about what we are studying. Here is my first pass at describing what I have in mind. If you intend to be a part of our working together will you please read this and give me any additions, subtractions or modifications that you believe are important. This document will form the discipline under which we agree to work together.


The purpose of this group is to come to a common mind about what God revealed through our Master Jesus and His holy apostles by the Holy Spirit. We believe we must engage in this dialogue in order to fulfill the command that His apostle Paul gave the church: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). We believe that whatever God commands He also makes possible; and whatever He makes possible He also requires of us. Therefore we believe that if we want to become what Christ means by a church that is true and a church that is an outpost of the Kingdom of God we must engage in this dialogue.


To pray for one another regularly, that God will protect each of us and guide our personal walk with Him.

To fast for our endeavor on a day to be decided, so that we may be united in prayer and fasting at least on that one day every week.


1. BIBLICAL INSPIRATION: The Spirit inspired the writers of the old and new covenant writings so that they contain a complete and error-free record of what He wanted recorded and passed down to His people. Our relationship to His Scriptural revelation is a perfect barometer of our ACTUAL relationship with God (as opposed to our IMAGINED relationship with Him). It is not possible to love God without loving those who are also begotten by Him (1 John 4:20). But it is also not possible to love the God of the Scriptures without loving those Scriptures that He has inspired and protected.
2. PRIORITY OF NEW TESTAMENT: God wants His children to use only the writings of the NEW covenant to establish the teachings, disciplines and promises that govern life in the Kingdom of God. The writings of the old covenant are used to establish the context for the new covenant writings, to describe the promises that were to be fulfilled in the Messiah, and to faithfully describe the history of God’s creation, His character and His dealing with His people under the Mosaic covenant. Any of the old covenant commands that God wanted to be perpetuated in the new covenant community were repeated by Jesus or His apostles (e.g., the conclusions in Acts 15 ).
3. ALL THE NEW TESTAMENT: Everything taught, commanded and promised in the New Testament – whether considered to be great or small – is to be believed, obeyed and experienced/ received today. No commands or promises in the New Testament were for the first century only (unless explicitly stated): no New Testament commands merely reflect first century society; rather, they describe the unchanging great and small manners of the society that incarnates the kingdom of God upon the earth. My body has a fingernail; my body has a liver. My liver is more important than my fingernail; but I do not tear out my fingernail because I can live without it; so also with the teachings of the apostolic writings. Everything is to be established within its proper balance, but EVERYthing that our Master has caused to be written for us is to be believed, taught, practiced and received just as if it had come from His mouth. “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it” (2 John 1:6).
4. EARLY CHURCH: Testimony from the early churches is to be used to support what the literal sense of the New Testament says. However, we are required to believe and fulfill only what is taught by the apostles in their writings. The apostolic writings are the judge of the writings of the later churches, no matter how ancient or widely received their writings are (e.g., Ignatius of Antioch’s insistence upon the difference between elders and monarchical bishop, and the superiority of the latter over the former).


1. LITERAL SENSE: Unless explicitly indicated otherwise by the apostolic writings themselves (e.g., in the Book of Revelation), the commands, promises and teachings of the New Testament are to be believed in the same grammatically natural, literal sense that we use for all serious communication. In other words we live in submission to what the text explicitly says and what it implies.
2. GATHER ALL TEXTS: Before we conclude anything, we gather together ALL pertinent New Covenant passages that pertain to a given subject. We pray about them and discuss them in the manner of Acts 15 . The Spirit of God will reveal an understanding that fulfills the literal sense which is common to all of those passages. Do not “de-literalize” any of the passages in an attempt to create a harmonization of the passages – such hasty conclusions guarantee that the conclusion will not be what God has revealed (e.g., the warfare between Calvinists and Arminians over predestination) . We also search for any Old Covenant examples, promises or prophecies that are being described or fulfilled by these passages.
3. SURRENDER: As soon as we come to understand something as revealed by God we commit ourselves to believe, obey or receive it with the faith of trusting children. Things commanded of individuals can be fulfilled by us now. Things commanded of congregations might not be able to be fulfilled now – but we will nevertheless commit ourselves to fulfilling those things as soon as God makes it possible to do them.
4. CONTINUED DISAGREEMENT: Topics about which we currently cannot come to a common mind will be put into an “on hold” status. We will continue to pray and fast for illumination about them, and return to them at a later time. God will be faithful: He who commands a common mind of us (1 Cor. 1:10) will most certainly provide that common mind. We may fail Him, but He cannot fail us! Perhaps the inability to agree may be an indicator of our hardness; but perhaps it may be an indicator that He wants us to do more than swap emails!

This dialogue I am proposing is a very inadequate substitute for the divine process we see undertaken by Jesus in raising up disciples in the Gospels and then turning them into a church in Acts. But it is the best that we can do right now from long distance. Amen?

May you enjoy Christ’s peace,


x-posted to lavendergem


cindmouse at 2009-06-08 13:43 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds interesting ... I'll join and particpate as much as I can/time allows.
artykat at 2009-06-09 00:22 (UTC) (Link)
This sounds very interesting to me, though I have trouble articulating (what's the word for that since it is being written?) what I think and believe due to brain problems. I used to be very active in preaching/teaching and now it is very difficult to write or speak. But I'd love to be a part of this, if allowed.
14 lines of iambic pentameter
sonneta at 2009-06-27 17:32 (UTC) (Link)
I'm interested.
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