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These studies have been important in the development of some aspect of Xenos' philosophy of ministry or our understanding of the church and its mission. Feel free to browse them section by section, or download them.


The Underground Church in History

House churches and informally led movements have played an important role in the history of the church, sometimes bringing in exceptional vigor, zeal and creativeness to an otherwise dormant body of Christ. (Unfortunately, they have also brought in false doctrine and extremism at times.) God may sometimes break out of existing wineskins to move out in less structured spontaneous "underground" movements. At Xenos, we are conscious of our indebtedness to other movements similar to our own. Xenos leaders have taken an interest in house-church movements both for the sake of imitating the good, and avoiding the mistakes. The following papers cover periods in church history when God was able to use "underground" movements to reach millions.

  • The Waldensian Movement from Waldo to the Reformation
    This movement suffered bitter persecution at the hands of the established church mainly for the "sin" of translating the Bible into the vernacular and presuming to use their gifts and ministries. (Non-Frames Version)
  • Watchman Nee and the House Church Movement in China
    Nee is little known in the west, mainly because his "interpreters," such as Witness Lee and the Little Flock church in New York City have put their own slant on his teachings. Meanwhile, house churches in China have reached millions in the past fifty years at a time when the church in the West has been stagnant or declining. (Non-Frames Version)
  • Philip Jacob Spener's Contribution to Protestant Ecclesiology
    Spener was an ordained minister and professor in the Lutheran church when he founded the movement that came to be called Pietism. Spener encouraged the formation of house groups (called collegia pietatis) where serious Christians could pursue fellowship and in-depth discipleship. His followers not only included the movement based at Halle University (which began the first organized Protestant missions outreach) but the so-called "radical pietists" who, along with Anabaptists, took the teachings of Spener to their logical extreme. Today, historians are aware of a direct line from the pietist movement to the Wesleyan movement. (Non-Frames Version)

Studies in Ecclesiology

These research papers and essays involve issues with which we have struggled and which have affected our thinking about the church.

  • The Objectification of Religion: Universal Themes
    This paper covers current theories about why people nearly always "objectify" religion. Objectification refers to the practice of reducing abstract principles and ethics to rituals, trinkets, buildings, and festivals. Formalism is a synonym for objectification--a fixation of the outward forms of religion, rather than on inward spiritual reality.
  • Cultivating a Tender Heart
    When working with people in the church, leaders regularly experience disappointment, betrayal, and failure. Many find it difficult to avoid toughening their hearts in a way that protects them from hurt. The result is inability to deeply care about people and to love them deeply. This paper discusses how to keep a tender heart toward God and others.
  • Strange Details in Stephen's Defense
    Have you ever wondered why Stephen seems to have problems staying on the subject during his defense to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7? This paper answers the questions raised by one of the more puzzling but vital passages in the book of Acts. The solution relates to the issue of formalism and the true nature of the church.
  • How to View Change in the Church
    When the church loses its ability to change, it loses its ability to follow God. Lead pastor, Dennis McCallum answers objections to change in the church with this essay.
  • Understanding Ministry
    A study guide we use when teaching ecclesiology. It explains a lot about our view of the church.
  • Melchizedek and the Priesthood of Christ
    Why must the church decisively reject both legalism and Old Testament-style ritualism? One of the clearest passages explaining why is Hebrews 5 and 7.
  • The Russian Factory and the Evangelical Church
    Contemplates some of the disturbing parallels between a typical socialist factory and many evangelical churches. The lack of creativity, failure to change, lack of motivation and poor workmanship in Russian factories is the direct result of the lack of incentive to be otherwise. How can we avoid falling trap in the church?
  • Roman Catholicism
    A study originally intended for training students in a class on ecclesiology, but has recently been revisited and updated because of calls to join in the Catholic-Protestant accord and the release of the new Catholic catechism. Based on the newest and most authoritative sources, what does Catholicism teach today?
  • Against the Traditional Fundamentalist View on the Role of Women in the Church
    Traditionally, fundamentalism has often held that women are not permitted to teach men, or to hold offices of authority over men in the church. This point of view is based on some of Paul's comments on women, which are being misunderstood, as we shall see in this informal essay by Dennis McCallum. 

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