From a Brother in West Virginia

2/24/10 (posted 3/4/10)

Dear Jim,       

I don’t quite know how I stumbled onto your website, but I did while doing some research on the web looking for Christian resources.

Having read Frank Viola’s Pagan Christianity (after reading The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent), I was both intrigued and upset by some of Viola’s claims.

While Frank raised some important issues about worldly traditions that evangelicals had adopted, I felt he was denying the role of Elders in serving the Lord in the Body of believers. Having also read “Biblical Eldership” by Alexander Strauch, I think Elders who literally serve the body are both scriptural and important, especially when they have a strong reliance on God’s Word.

Our church is doing a Wednesday evening book review and comparing Viola’s book with Scripture.

One of our Elders brought a copy of Frank Viola’s latest book “Re-imagining Church” to the “bible study”/ book review, and I found myself feeling upset even to the point of anger over the terms “re-imagining” and “DNA” in reference to the Church.

After reading quite a bit on your web site, I am very much relieved to find I am not alone in my concerns over these terms.

I rely a good deal on my (admittedly subjective) discernment when reading a book, listening to preaching or teaching, or watching a video.

I will frequently experience what I call a “red flag” (for gross false teaching) or a “yellow flag” (for teaching that doesn’t seem right somehow) in my conscience.

Sometimes I am wrong and the teaching is OK, however usually (about 90% of the time) there truly is something to be concerned about.

This is confirmed or refuted when I compare that teaching with Scripture!

That is our authority for our faith and practices!

Yeah, I know, that’s what they all say.

I was a member of a denominational church for 11 years. After this my wife and I began attending a “non-denominational” church that was part of the “Acts 29 network”.

All seemed great for the first couple of years. The minister would say things like “We need to keep the main thing the main thing, and Jesus is the main thing!”

Well… the leadership brought in “Purpose Driven”, and soon we were “driven” out.

We began to look for a Church modeled on Scripture and couldn’t find one that was lead by Elders and Preaching the Gospel.

We found a couple of good Gospel preaching pastors, but they had complete control of their Churches (no Elders).

So about 5 of us began to meet in each others homes on Sunday morning for prayer, worship and fellowship.

We were amazed in how much we were sensing The Lord’s presence and leading in this and began to discuss the possibility that we were on the right path.

Then we began asking “dumb” questions like, “should we be confessional, or liturgical, or have an order of worship? What should we be doing?”

One fellow named Marty (without reading or knowing anything about the “house church movement”) asked, “using the Bible as a template, what would Church look like?”

That began our searching Scripture for what it had to say about the Ekklesia (Church). WOW! We were surprised by how much Scripture had to say about House Church: From a direct mention; (Acts 2:2, 2:46, 5:42, 12:12,16:40, 20:20, Rom. 16:5, 1Cor. 16:19, Col. 4:15, and Phil. 1:2) As well as from a functional perspective;  (Acts 14:23, 1Cor. 12:7, 12:28, 14:26-30, Eph. 5:18-21, Col. 3:16, 1Pet. 4:7-11, Rom. 12:3-10, 15:14, Heb. 3:13, 10:24-25).

We also began to research the subject in earnest, reading books and websites on the idea of House Church.

You can imagine the flood of info we found.

We were kinda protected by Marty’s original statement of “using the Bible as a template” and rejecting all unbiblical ideas.

Our little house church, of 18 or so believers has been meeting just over 5 years as of this e-mail.

We are not “networking” with anybody, and we do not take in any money.

We ask believers to seek what the Lord would have them to give, and where, and how much, but PLEASE do not give any money to us, find someone poor and help them or fund a missionary or two somewhere.

We have 3 men who have been recognized as Elders for their love (and understanding) of Scripture, love for the “flock”, and their ability to fit the “models” for Elders in Timothy and Titus.

I personally have been walking with Jesus for about 34 years and can’t believe how long I simply accepted the Institutional Church’s traditions as the way things should be for Church, while using scripture for how I conducted my personal life.

Most believers who experience the difference of Biblical Church say they never want to go back to a more worldly model.

I’m sorry this letter is so long, but I am simply overjoyed in all the things I have read on your website so far.

I haven’t read it all, but rest assured I have been a HUGE longtime fan of Dave Hunt and promise to “like a Berean” check it all against Scripture.

I find myself almost continually recommending folks to check out Dave’s “Berean Call” website and Andy & Berit Kjos’s “lighthouse trails” website as well.

PS   I know of a missionary organization that I have great confidence in called Gospel For Asia, or GFA for short. Please, check them out.


Dale Noland
Believers House Church

Articles by Dale: Another Jesus?What’s Wrong with Contemplative?

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