The Home-Church Model of
Vine & Fig Tree advocates a return to Biblical Patriarchy: the blossoming of family-centered community and the material and spiritual blessings God promises in response to that obedience. The two biggest obstacles to world-wide Patriarchy and the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision (Micah 4:1-7) are the institutions of church and state. In this book we focus on the institutional church. We argue that there is no legitimate (Biblical) barrier to the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision; that the concept of the institutional church should be abandoned.
2. Life-as-worship vs. Institutional
The institutional church emphasizes attendance at a weekly ritual of activities called "worship." This version of "worship" is drawn from the Old Testament ceremonial system which is fulfilled in Christ. In the New Testament "worship" means obedience to God's Law in every day-to-day area of life. Ritual worship is no longer required. The core of legitimate activities required by the institutional church (viz., praising God, praying, singing, reading scripture, eating, and exhorting one another) are best accomplished in more comfortable, informal, home-like environments. Like home.
3. Patriarchy and Community
The Family is God's agent for social order and harmony. The Garden is the goal. Christian community must be characterized by contentment, community, and a Godly calling. State-centered industrialist society will not allow these necessities of life.
4. Revolution, Repentance, and Redemption
Throughout history there have been those who claim to be Christians, and those who have allowed His teachings to have a radical effect on their lives, as genuine repentance (metanoia, "a complete turning around") brings wholistic Redemption. Some might call this "revolutionary."
5. Revolution and Church History
We have been accused of being "revolutionary" insofar as we seek to make a decisive and immediate break from the practices of pagan culture. We have also been accused of being revolutionary in the sense that we ignore the teaching ministry of the Spirit embodied in church history. We deal with these charges here.
6. History and the Hidden Patriarchs
Particular attention is paid to the charge that we ignore church history. It is true that we do not follow the general trends of mainstream ecclesiasticism. But it is not true that the ideas embodied in the PATRIARCHY perspective are entirely novel. Throughout the history of the Church, many individuals, groups, or movements have held these same views to some degree. A suggestion is made as to why their views are largely ignored in the history books of the ecclesiastical mainstream.
7. Who Were the True Reformers? (The Priesthood of All Believers)
In an important article by Gary North ("Family Authority and Protestant Sacerdotalism"), the concept of "The Priesthood of All Believers" is set forth, and the tendency of the institutional church to limit the powers of the believer-priests to the "ordained" is noted.
8. Study Questions
9. Objection -- Believer-Priests in the Old Testament
A former Professor at a leading Reformed seminary objects to our understanding of "The Priesthood of All Believers." His objection is answered.
10. Study Questions
11. Christian Radicalism
What does it mean to be a "radical?" Leftist? Right-wing extremist? No, it means to go back to the roots, which in the present case are the Scriptures. "Radicals" are despised because they are committed to their cause, and this offends the lukewarm.
12. Authority, Submission, and Obedience in the New Covenant
To criticize dictatorial or unGodly authority is not to deny that the Bible commands certain duties of us even towards those who exercise a lawless authority.
13. Study Questions
14. Objection -- On Being "Willing to Obey"
Our seminary Professor objected that without "ordained church officers" everyone would become lawless and depraved. No one would respect anyone else. This judgment is shown to be rooted in antinomian and amillennial presuppositions.
15. "The Depravity of Man" and the Fear of Patriarchy
The Calvinist doctrine of "Total Depravity" has been misconstrued to mean we must all remain incompetent, fearful, and unable to serve others productively. Children taught that they are worthless grow up to be so. We must begin the task of re-educating for Godly Dominion.
16. Spontaneous Obedience
God's grace works in believers in such a way that obedience becomes something of a "habit" for them. They don't even have to try to be Godly! In evaluating the spiritual condition of the believer, we should err on the side of Perfectionism.
17. The Promise of World-Wide Patriarchy
A defense of Postmillennialism.
18. The End of Teachers
Postmillennialism, combined with the doctrine of spontaneous obedience, means there will increasingly be fewer and fewer people in "institutional"-type roles.
These essays were published in various forms, including a number of "Study-letters" published by Vine & Fig Tree. They have not yet been converted to HTML. If you would like to read one sooner than it takes to get it posted on the 'net, just write and ask for it by Essay Number. Kevin4VFT@aol.com
Am I a heretic? I would appreciate your comments. Please write me at Kevin4VFT@aol.com
Vine & Fig Tree