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Note: Most of the electronic publications at House Church Central are in the Vernard Eller Collection and the HCC Magazine. Those listed below are works of other authors that are deemed to be too large for the magazine.
This is the first chapter of Prof. Nelson's A Believers' Church Theology, his textbook for his classes in Systematic Theology at Golden Gate Seminary where he taught for fifteen years prior to his recent retirment. Note: While Dr. Nelson will happily admit to being an "Anabaptist" and an experienced home church leader, this book was intended to train Baptist pastors, missionaries, and teachers for ministry. It therefore contains a significant "Baptist" flavor. Nevertheless, readers will enjoy it because it is not a "Baptist" book, nor is it an "Anabaptist" book. It is a Christian book.
The Book of Romans is dear to all Christians, yet it is the subject of constant debate. The consensus now leans toward the notion that Romans is not intended primarily as a doctrinal textbook, but rather--like most letters--was directed to a particular place to accomplish a particular purpose. While textbooks are organized any number of ways, good letter writers have always tended toward structure called . as a means of increasing their effectiveness. Therefore, when I needed a thesis topic for a graduate degree, I decided to try to "map" Romans into such a structure, as I had been greatly impressed with the work of N. Lohfink, D.C. Fredericks, and other scholars who had used the method to help understand certain other biblical books. I figured that if it did not pan out, I'd find another topic--but I was amazed at the result! The structure opened up up the book in a way I'd never seen before! Not only did the pieces all fit, but they tended to confirm much of the modern scholarship on the book--especially regarding Paul's movements at the time and the political situation in Rome. Most amazingly, the book showed itself to be centered on house church theology--an observation that would stun many scholars much more experienced than I, but whose institutional church biases have blinded them to the obvious nature of Paul's message. So scan through this thesis and see if it helps you see Romans as it did for me. I've pretty much put it on the web the way I submitted it to the faculty, so please excuse the stilted, "academic" style. May it be a blessing to you!
When people talk about "leadership" in the church, the "authority of the pastor," or that "women should be submissive to their hosbands," Old Testament patriarchy is often the model. But is this biblical? Or is it just an expression of post-Genesis 2 fallenness? Del Birkey, the author of the excellent book The House Church, offers some useful hermeneutical guidelines for approaching this issue.
House Church Central visitors already know the benefits of the theology of house church meetings. In this article, Dr. Birkey looks at the fruits of house churching in Christian missions. Citing examples from every corner of the world, he examines "the failure of contemporary scholarship to grapple with the household concept of New Testament times."
A reflection on the Cross at Christmastime.
A short story. May it be a blessing to you.
Dr. eakins, a favorite Old Testament and Hebrew professor, is now the curator of the Marian Eakins Archaeological Collection in Mill Valley, California. He is a man of many interests: he holds a doctorate in Old Testament studies, a medical degree, has invested several seasons at archaeological digs, and is also an amateur astronomer. He has prepared this article as an introduction to this fascinating subject.
When churches meet in homes there is a potential that their activities may be perceived negatively by neighbors, who sometimes seek relief from government agencies or through the courts. What are the legal issues? How have these matters been settled in the past? And, especially, to what extent does the U.S. Constitution protect religious house meetings from government regulation? Sean Gallagher has studied the matter from the perspective of a legal student, and has offered his analysis in the hope that it might guide home churches to "be as shrewed as serpents and innocent as doves" (Mt. 10:16).