Essays and Research Papers
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
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
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
- Philip Jacob Spener's Contribution to Protestant
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
has often held that women are not permitted to teach men, or to hold
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.
- What About Medical Marijuana Use
As cannabis is increasingly being legalized for medical use, Leffel discusses whether and under what conditions its use would be appropriate.
- The Mystery Hidden for Aeons Past
Why are Old Testament predictions of the first coming so often ambiguous?
would Satan cooperate in Jesus' crucifixion? These and many other intriguing
quesions are answered when we understand what Paul calls "the
- As in Adam, So in Christ
why position in Christ is the key to real, rather than superficial change
in the Christian life. This essay is adapted from his book, Walking
- An Approach to Christian Ethics
form our ethics from Scripture determines the moral climate in the church.
Xenos elder Dennis McCallum explains his understanding in this controversial
- The Extent and Nature of Inspiration
Our response to recent challenges to the doctrine of biblical inspiration.
- Christ and Scriptural Inspiration
teaching on the nature of inspiration ranks as our most important source
for understanding this crucial question.
- Philosophical Influences on Cosmology
House, a mathematician and research scientist discusses how cosmology
has changed in recent years.
- A Brief History of Literary Theory
Chris Lang covers traditional, modernist, and postmodern
approaches to literature.
- The Case for Christ's Resurrection
Chris Lang summarizes recent arguments supporting the historicity of
- Engineering Life: Defining "Humanity" In
A Postmodern Age
Jim Leffel discusses the dangers inherent in
arbitrarily defining humanity.
- Understanding Today's
Jim Leffel ponders the question: How will Christians become effective
in reaching postmodern students at today's universities?
- Christian Witness in a Pluralistic Age
The rules for communication are changing, and only those who understand
the postmodern shift will be able to reach pluralistic culture today.
Jim Leffel assess John Hick's pluralism and draws lessons for Christians
intent on witness.
- Sejanus and The Chronology of Christ
DeLashmutt shows how the life and death of Lucas Sejanus provides valuable
insight into the dating of Christ's death.
- An Approach to Christian Ethics
a principles based Christian ethical system.
- Early German Lutheran Pietism's Understanding
Gary DeLashmutt examines the views of justification
of three early German pietists -Johann Arndt, Philip Jacob Spener and
August Hermann Francke.
- Paul's Usage of ta stoicheia tou kosmou
paper examines the meaning of the phrase ta stoicheia tou kosmou ("the elementary principles of the world")
as it is used by Paul in Gal. 4:3,9 and Col. 2:8,20.
- Baptism at Xenos
Lead Pastor Gary DeLashmutt
answers the questions of what is the Biblical purpose of baptisms and
why Christians should be baptized, and briefly describes how baptisms
are performed at Xenos.
- What is Worship?
Campbell, PhD. helps us to understand what biblical worship is in
the New Testament
with an excellent study of the greek.
- The Background of Islam
- The Ethics of Divorce and Remarriage
Dennis McCallum gives a concise, thoughtful treatment of this complex issue faced by anyone trying to minister in today's culture.
- Evolution and the Bible
Is evolution compatible with the Bible? Jeff Gordon and Doug Rudy examine this controversial topic and provide three common errors in relating science and scripture.
- For Whom Did Jesus Die?
Did Jesus die for everyone or only for those who believe in him? Xenos leader Conrad Hilario examines the historical Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement.
- The Christian Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement
The Atonement has become the subject of discussion arising from the Emerging Church movement. Conrad Hilario examines the historical doctrine along with some of the challenges being raised by Emergent writers.