Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why the Hope of Home Fellowship is Desperately Needed

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 28, 2015

ppt-jpeg4I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me; recent changes in my life have taught me things I need to know as I strive to see a vibrant network of home fellowships come to volition. This week, I was made aware of a vast reality that most of us do not think about often. I found myself in a situation with my new employment were I was subject to a person in the realm of psychosis. Though, in the final analysis, I have choices, in regard to some employees who had to deal with this guy, not so much, if at all. In the realm of unskilled labor in an employer’s market, if you don’t want to endure the hardship, someone is waiting in line to take your place, and the food that you put in the mouths of your children.

So, I endured working for a client with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder for about four days, and during that time I had the New Testament on my mind. During New Testament times, workers were literally and legally owned by people just like this. Quitting was not an option. If you quit, you were a fugitive—slaves had no rights in that culture. The only known culture where slaves had rights was in Judea during the Old Testament era. By the way, the Sabbath was part of that.

Evil desire is a most unfortunate human reality. The Bible states that sin starts with a desire, and when the desire is obeyed, sin results. Unfortunately, the desire to control others, torture others, and kill others falls into the realm of these desires. Be sure of this: in regard to organizations like ISIS, religion is an excuse to fulfill these types of evil desires. In my situation, I could only imagine what it is like when people like this have the right to flog you.

At some point this week, I exercised my right as a free man and clocked out; the Bible lesson was complete enough in my mind. And by the way, this guy is a member in good standing at a local institutional church. During my time there in his home, he was very inquisitive about my church life. He was incredulous that our home fellowship meetings do not have “praise and worship.”

Full stop…

…this is the difference between true home fellowship, NOT cell groups of an institutional church posing as home fellowship, and the institutional church: what I was doing for him IS our praise and worship. The problem is the placard over many double doors of the institutional church: “Enter to Worship, Leave to Serve.” The single biggest issue with the institutional church is exactly that—the dichotomy between service and worship. And it is also disingenuous if you understand the core ideology of church; it is only our job to worship, and “service” flows naturally from that in the form of manifestations not really performed by us lest we have a “righteousness of our own.” And trust me, this guy had no righteousness of his own. And of course, what church is complete without one or two such as this fellow accused of being a pedophile.

So, what does the institutional church have to offer for slaves? Well, if I was a member of his church, it was clear that I would have been brought up on church discipline, and that according to him. Should we laugh or cry? Neither, we should consider why the home fellowships of the first century turned the whole world upside down. I went with this guy to deliver something at the home of a church member, and of course, he was a totally different person. Church enables people to live double lives, and have their cake and eat it too. Salvation is by being a member in good standing, ie., the elders say your in. If I did go to this guy’s church, I suck it up, repent, and make it “right” or I lose my salvation because the guy tithes more than I do. This is just the way it works.

No, slaves don’t need more slavery, they need people who gather where they live under the authority of truth and not men. They need to gather where the banner over the door is love. In the first century, Christian slaves had hope. There was much need in that culture, and this is probably why Christians assembled every day of the week. In fact, every home probably had an evening meal at roughly the same time and was open for a gathering nightly. The gatherings would have been small, and focused on need. Though the general format was a meal, Lord’s Table, some sort of spiritual discussion around the word, and encouragement towards good works, the method is and was incredibly fluid and adaptive to any situation. Christians in the worst of situations found love, purpose, encouragement, wisdom, hope, and endurance. This is particularly relevant in our culture because people in bondage of all sorts can find encouragement in a system that God designed to meet individual need.

And the last thing we need in that system is what we find everywhere in the world and its evil desires:

more authority.

paul

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