Simple[ edit ] A simple church may meet anywhere with or without trained leaders, formal liturgy , programs or structures. Most Church "programs" privately meet during some days of the week and discuss troubles that they are having with their faith, and personal life. Church "programs" are virtually nonexistent and small group participation is essential. The process of moving from worship to small group, small group to mission work, and mission work to worship is a primary focus.
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Review Maybe some place where Christianity is not free to go public, like China? An organic church is essentially a house church. Cole prefers the former term because of pejorative connotations associated with the latter, and because he has found organic churches meeting in many places other than houses One of the more significant chapters is chapter 12, where Cole provides five principles for starting churches that reproduce.
His passion to reach people with the gospel is contagious. He emphasizes reliance on the Spirit 89 and on Jesus Christ 49— In fact, in the Life Transformation Groups he developed, group members read about thirty chapters of the Bible each week 67!
Strong on Membership and the Importance of Truth This emphasis on Bible reading is one facet of his commitment to intense Christian discipleship and meaningful church membership. A transformed life, and consequently loving relationships and a life on mission, is the fruit of divine truth flooding the heart of a regenerate soul. Finally, Cole both humbly and helpfully devotes an entire chapter recounting the mistakes he has made in ministry ch.
Weak Biblical Foundations Unfortunately, however, the book has weak biblical foundations. For example, Cole spends an entire chapter addressing the organization and leadership of the church without ever referring the biblical descriptions of church polity or the even clearer prescriptions for church leadership such as 1 Timothy 3. Weak Understanding of the Church More importantly, Cole has a weak understanding of the church, which surfaces both in his description of New Testament house churches and in his definition of the church.
While the early Christians often met in their homes Acts ; Rom. My point is: the picture is more complicated than Cole would have us think. Granted, some of this is quibbling about facts, but the details are significant because Cole presents organic churches as the way Jesus intended for us to do church 41— To do this, he must stretch what the New Testament actually says about house churches.
House churches have been helpful at times in Christian history and may still be helpful today, but Cole is wrong to argue that this is the biblical pattern for evangelism and church planting. There is certainly truth in this definition, but our Protestant forebears would have considered it biblically deficient, pointing to the importance of the right preaching of the gospel, the right administration of the sacraments, and church discipline.
As David Wells observes, it is questionable whether many modern home fellowships, which used to complement the local church, will really carry out the duties of the church. By: Kevin McFadden.
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Book Review: Organic Church, by Neil Cole