House Churches and bishops during the Apostolic Period

I’m enjoying reading an article by Nicholas Taylor in the Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal. I particularly enjoyed his reconstruction of how house churches eventually became congregations that were not just members from one family and the associated slaves or servants, and also of how the local house churches leaders eventually gave birth—early on—to having one house church elder with oversight over other congregations, which is to say a bishop:

It is clear that congregations were, or rapidly became, more than simply the household at worship. As well as itinerant Christian missionaries and other travellers who might temporarily attach themselves to a Christian congregation, and avail themselves of the hospitality of the householders, cities attracted disparate and displaced individuals who, for whatever reason, had temporarily or permanently lost their roots in the household to which they had belonged. If these were converted, they might have attached themselves to an existing church and household, or perhaps have formed a church of their own, apart from the patronage system of household and city. Churches may also have been formed of more than one household, particularly when a person of wealth and status was able to provide a degree of protection and access to Christian teaching not available to a poorer household.

It is precisely at the point at which a church moves beyond the parameters of the household that the emergence of distinctive, defined, and titled forms of hierarchy and ministry should be sought. The most powerful householder in a city or town, who would almost certainly have hosted gatherings of the church, either in his own home or in a public building rented for the purpose, would at this point have emerged as bishop. (p. 32, Volume 2:4, Winter 2018)

The entire journal can be downloaded through academia.edu.

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Christmas Greetings: Mi Burrito Sabanero

One of the cute songs they sing here is “Mi Burrito Sabanero” (my little burro from the savannah). It is a Venezuelan Christmas song and the chorus says, “If you see me, I’m on my way to Bethlehem.” Of course, riding the little burro. Here is a completely non-professional version of this from my daughter.

Watch and enjoy. Do drop by the Youtube page and give it your thumbs up. And Christmas blessings on this tenth day of Christmas.

Don Little on Discipleship of ex-Muslims and the Church

Beautiful observation here from Don Little‘s 2009 doctoral dissertation at Gordon-Conwell (p. 122):

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This idea of bringing together both sides of the identity into a new, firm convert identity is really at the heart not only of discipleship but all pastoral care for Christ’s converts from Islam.

기독교인은 왜 박해받을까요?

Here is my address on conversion from Islam to Christianity at Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a dynamic and wonderful ministry. I gave this address in English and it has translation into Korean.

지금까지 무슬림에서 기독교로 회심한 사람은 전 세계에 몇 명이나 될까요? 그들은 무엇에 끌려 기독교로 나올까요? 우리는 이미 그리스도께 나온 그들을 어떻게 대해야 할까요? 무슬림 회심자 전문 연구원 두에인 알렉산더 밀러(Duane Alexander Miller) 박사가 객관적인 수치로 여러 가지 질문에 명쾌하게 대답합니다. 함께 들어봅시다.

Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Foley for her work translating this.