The house church folk love Luke 10

A lot of the presenters here make a big deal about Luke 10. 

Luk 10:1  After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go.
Luk 10:2  He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
Luk 10:3  Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves.
Luk 10:4  Do not carry a money bag, a traveler’s bag, or sandals, and greet no one on the road.
Luk 10:5  Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house!’
Luk 10:6  And if a peace-loving person is there, your peace will remain on him, but if not, it will return to you.
Luk 10:7  Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they give you, for the worker deserves his pay. Do not move around from house to house.
Luk 10:8  Whenever you enter a town and the people welcome you, eat what is set before you.
Luk 10:9  Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’
Luk 10:10  But whenever you enter a town and the people do not welcome you, go into its streets and say,
Luk 10:11  ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this: The kingdom of God has come.’

This passage is presented as the primary approach for planting new churches.  Much is made about most of the passages here.  I’m finding it difficult.

1) These 72 weren’t planting churches.  They were out to heal the sick and proclaim the arrival of the kingdom.  Proclaiming the gospel and the arrival of the Kingdom of God is not the same thing as planting churches.

2) The people who did receive the ministry of the 72 were likely invited to join Jesus disciples when he came through town.  No possible church was established with these people until after Pentecost.  By the end of Luke many of these 72 likely scattered.

3) Jesus specifically mentioned his instruction in Luke 10 and changed it Luke 22.

Luk 22:35  Then Jesus said to them, "When I sent you out with no money bag, or traveler’s bag, or sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?" They replied, "Nothing."
Luk 22:36  He said to them, "But now, the one who has a money bag must take it, and likewise a traveler’s bag too. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.

While these passages do change Jesus’ instruction Jesus is implying that his disciples will be sent out again.  It is obvious from history that they were sent out and proclaimed the kingdom after Pentecost.  I kind of wish more people here included Luke 22 because ultimately it adds more weight to some aspects of this approach because it is affirmed more than once.  On the other hand it implies that people need to understand their context and change their game plan accordingly.

The church grew in so many ways in Acts I would find it limiting to stick with just Luke 10.  It is obvious that Pentecost wasn’t like this.  Paul’s method for planting churches usually started in the Synagogue and we know he went to Mars Hill.  Paul got himself arrested and as a result proclaimed the gospel to Roman officials and guards.  It seems clear that

That doesn’t mean there isn’t something to learn from Luke 10.  There in lies the work for me. 

  1. #1 by Lila on June 28, 2009 - 8:29 am

    Of course what I’m about to say is pure “speculative theology” but I wonder if the ministry tours of the 70 sent-out ones didn’t prepare the country-side for the Dispersion that happened after the beheading of James and during/after the persecution at the hands of Saul and his ilk? As you point out, the Dispersion didn’t go out empty-handed but I suspect that the disciples were secretly well-received.

  2. #2 by Toni on July 3, 2009 - 2:49 am

    I’ve never heard of the 72 sent out as any kind of justification for planting new churches, and to do so seems to miss the point of both why they went (AFAIK to take the gospel out where Jesus didn’t have time to go personally and to prepare people for Him to come to their village). Also I’d have thought Paul’s practice a much better model to base church-plant theology on.

    One of the things that I like about the 72 going out is that they weren’t the 12, but were a bit more ‘ordinary’. It’s easy to see the 12 as being the ones filed with power, doing miracles etc, but when these guys came back they reported that “even the demons obey us”. Another thing is that what they did wasn’t about them, but about the authority they’d been given. This is important because I’ve found suggestions that to do certain things (like deliverance) requires one to be specially ‘gifted’, where that isn’t reflected in scripture.

    It’s an interesting passage.

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