It's Supernatural

With your host Sid Roth

Sid Roth welcomes John Fenn

without comments

Sid:  My guest John Fenn is making me red hot for the Messiah, because we’re discussing his book, “Return of the First Church,” and it came as a result of three visitations from the Lord.  And one of the things John you did is you, after the revelation came as to what the first Church was like, what Jesus really wanted in the Church what was missing you began to do research as to how we actually started the way Jesus said, He wants the church to be and how it evolved to what we have today.  I wonder if you’d tell us a little bit about what your research revealed.

John:  Sure, sure.  Well, you know the first thing I noticed was all the homes was represented in the Gospel; all the miracles that Jesus did from the wedding feast at Cana to you know visiting Simon the leper or Zaccheus in his house or all the homes there and of course there was Pentecost.  I really began reexamining the New Testament and one of the things that I noticed was that none of the letters of the New Testament were addressed to leadership, they weren’t addressed to the pastors or the elders or whatever, it was addressed to the church at.  You know when Paul wrote his letters it was addressed to everybody.  And I also saw that when they were problems in the New Testament churches Paul did not say, now you elders should take care of this problem.  For instance in 1st Corinthians 5 there’s a situation where a man has an illicit relationship with his stepmother and Paul says, and he chastises the whole church, he says you all should have dealt with this.  And then in the very next chapter he talks about two brothers who were suing one another and he says, “This should be settled within the church, the whole body should have handled this.  And so that got me thinking, and so when I started doing the research I realized that for the first nearly 300 years the Church was exclusively in home and that was in times of persecution and times when there wasn’t much persecution within the Roman Empire.  But then in 313, in the year 313 the Emperor Constantine issued an edict that legalized Christianity and over the next few decades what happened was that they began taking over the pagan temples which were set up in the auditorium style and building other buildings, so basically taking over a lot of the pagan temples and turning them into churches.  And Constantine and his successors then called people out of the houses into these former pagan temples into the auditoriums structure that we have today and we’ve been basically stuck in that same structure for seventeen hundred years.  Now what it did was it changed the nature of the relationship from depending on my brother or sister to help disciple me to my relationship with a building, my relationship with a paid clergy, my relationship with a program from that proceeded forth from that building.  And so it started to kill the relationship aspects of Christianity that had begun you know in the home and I’d have to go clear back to Adam and Eve and I’d go back to even Genesis when the Lord appeared to Abraham.  You know when He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I’m about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah because I know that he is going to train up his children after him?  And then you can see all the way through there’s homes.  And I started realizing this is larger than saying “Oh, this is the way they did it in the first church; this is Genesis through Revelation.  And when we came out of that and came and into what I call the pyramid structure of the traditional church where there is a one head a pastor designated as the one who will be the font of God’s wisdom it made the gifts in the Body actually shut down.  They had no more place to function because they had to be silent and all face the same direction; and all listen to this one person you know be the you know be the spout of God’s wisdom for the day.  Where as in the home church when you’re all meeting together Paul said in 1st Corinthians 14:26 “How is it brethren when you come together everyone of you has a Psalm a doctrine, a revelation, gifts of the Spirit.”  And so we have come 1700 years in that structure and that’s why in my journey when I looked all over the world, even though churches would say, we’re different in reality they weren’t.  They were all built around the building, the hierarchy and the structure that is just kills true relationships.

Sid:  Okay, how does what you’re saying differ from a good church with cell groups?

John:  Sure cell groups, there’s a huge difference between cell groups and house churches.  One of the main differences is that a cell group is still offered as a program as an option for the members of the congregation.  The main meeting is still the large congregational meeting say on Sunday.  Cells are offered as another program just like the neighborhood outreach, just like Sunday school, you know just like the Singles program and so cells are presented as another thing to become involved in.  In house church, each house church is independent; each house church stands on its own two feet.  Each house church stands on its own two feet; each house church takes care of its own people.  Now we may come together with other house churches and have a congregational style meeting, because you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  There are large congregational style meetings even in the book of Acts Chapter four after Peter and John were chastised by the leaders they called everybody together.  So there are those times for those meetings, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. so cell churches are a program from a traditional church but a house church is an independent entity all by itself.

Sid:  Now, one of the things that intrigue me is the shape that a lot of your groups take, for instance you have one group that meets I think a couple times a month or once a month at Starbucks rather than the home.  Tell me about that.

John:  Ha-ha, in Fresno, California our affiliate there meets in a Starbucks every other Sunday and what really started out as an outreach one of the families in there had a son whose incarcerated in prison and would have different friends that he would meet in prison while he’s serving his term be released and after he led them to the Lord in prison, but have nowhere to go.  And often times these people would go to a living room of a stranger and they certainly would not darken the door of a traditional church.  And so they came up with the idea of why don’t we just be there a couple times a month in a Starbucks on a Sunday morning; and will pray for one another and will see what the Lord is saying and we’ll use it as a means to bring unchurched or dechurched people or people who don’t even know the Lord and bring them in to what we’re doing and hopefully lead them to the Lord.  So it really began as an outreach and a means of discipleship and I like that term unchurched or dechurched because we have a lot of both all over the world.

Sid:  Now another thing that intrigues me is out of the relationships, out of this desire for intimacy with God, hearing God’s voice, and relationships with one another miracles are the natural thing that occurs.  Tell me some miracles that are going on; I understand you have one house church that had someone that was raised from the dead.

John:  Let me tell you about one that’s associated in India with a five year old boy and people say, well that happened in India.  Well, I’ll tell you what, I could tell you a story of Naples, Florida of a young man who had his leg grow out a ½ inch or ¾ of an inch; he’d been in a car wreck and you know it wasn’t so much that I laid hands on this young man, talk about miracles here in the states.  But other members of other teenagers who knew him laid hands on him and they watched the Lord grow this boy’s injured leg out and become straight and the same length as the other and he went leaping and dancing around the room.

Sid:  He was headed for surgery and they didn’t have to operate.

John:  He was headed for surgery, he had been in a car accident, had his leg crushed and they said, “You know we’ve got to wait a little bit until you grow a little bit to do this.  And the only reason I slip this in here Sid, because people have the idea of you know we’re going to meet in the living room and nothing spectacular happens.  They have to understand that when Christ lives in you and you really understand, that anything can happen and that the Lord takes pleasure in moving through the average, quote unquote Christian.  You start thinking what can be, how might the Lord use me.  And that was exactly the case in Deli India with a little boy named, Argon and Argon Doss was his name and this happened in 2001.  And about 6:00 in the evening Argon walked under a live powerline that caught him right behind his left ear and electrocuted him and killed him.  And his parents took him to the clinic where they worked on him for two hours and finally they just gave up and they said, “I’m sorry your five year old, your little boy is dead.  And fortunately the parents were part of a small house church, small group of strong believers and they said, “Man can’t do it through his means, then we’re going to call our church together.  They took his body back to their house and gathered the people together; by the time they could gather everyone together and everything it was 10:00 in the evening.  But one of the ladies, the main lady who came was a lady a 60 year old widow named Sovetre; I want to say her name right.  Sovetre and she’s of the Dalet which is the untouchable in the traditional society.   She was a street sweeper and spent all her life as a street sweeper, but she was a main one who led the prayer and they prayed for Argon from 10:00 in the evening until 4:00AM and finally at 4:00AM suddenly Argon just took a breath and sat up.  Completely normal in every way, he still has a scar behind his left ear, but he was raised from the dead, it’s because of this little house church said, “You know what, we’ll just pray and worship God and really say that Argon time on the earth is not finished and they were determined and after six hours of prayer and worship the Lord brought him back to life.  And it was interesting my friend who went there and confirmed this who is also in house church found out when he was talking to this little street sweeper who headed up the prayer team and he said, “By the way, he said in the last six years that you’ve been a Christian you know how many dead people have you seen raised?”  And she answered quietly sixteen.

Sid:  You know the change that God told you would occur over the next few years where we wouldn’t recognize America?  I believe we won’t recognize Christianity because it will be closer to the book of Acts than what it is now.

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November 2nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Its Supernatural