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First Century Church

March 18, 2009

I spent a great deal of my life hearing about this goal, this idea. The idea behind this was the notion that you had to duplicate this first century experience to really be the church.

The problem for me became that this was a very mixed and matched affair. It seemed that some parts of that early church had to be copied while others were totally ignored.

In the end it is my belief that no first century church was every restored. I mean the very New Testament used to create the pattern did not even exist when the church began. How could they have even worshiped while they waited for the Spirit at Pentecost? What did Peter and all of the disciples do as they huddled together? They prayed and Peter spoke but how did they know those were acceptable? What book, chapter and verse authorized them?

Should we be surprised that they simply continued to worship as they always had? Should we be surprised that they embraced their Messiah, the promised seed of Abraham just as they always had in a very Jewish way?

I spent a few days back in the old world this week and I still don’t understand. I was reminded of why I moved on. The Bible is used as a weapon where people’s pet peeves and personal likes become authorized by God.

If only we would allow the Spirit to rule our hearts and minds.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2009 1:23 pm

    A question for those who want the 1st church restored, or believe it has been, is this one. Which church? I think in some quarters the Corinthian church has been restored to some degree….


  2. March 19, 2009 5:51 pm

    Darin, interesting thought here. As you know, our church plant is being formed based on the Acts 2 model of the first century church. However, I seriously doubt that this is the only way church can happen. Actually, wherever people gather in his name, there is the church. The church is us, not a formula or a building.

    There is a beauty in the description of the first century church in Acts 2: gather together daily, have fellowship over a meal, listen to the teachings of the gospel, give sacrificially to those that have a need. It is an organic, trusting and loving community that I believe would bring the gospel into the lives of those that want more from their journey in life. However, the purpose-driven church, attractional mega-church and the liturgical Anglican church are all still sharing the gospel and raising disciples. God is using many ways to reach his people.

    I don’t see how living out the church in an attractional or Act 2 way makes it a pet peeve. In essence, Jesus confirmed the Greatest Commandment of loving God above everything, and loving others above ourselves. If we can stay true to that, then it does honor God and is not a manipulation of the Bible to support fanciful ideas. The church is the bride of Christ. We should be in unity and take our places as part of the one body that has Christ at its head.

  3. nick gill permalink
    March 23, 2009 12:52 pm

    I think the difference between what you are doing and what Darin (and I) have experienced is simple — you are not using the Bible as a weapon to exert power over others and force them to accept your version of the Acts 2 pattern.

  4. March 23, 2009 1:05 pm

    Sorry I have not responded Dave.

    Nick does a good job responding. I would add that we have to be careful when we try to recreate any situation from scripture. Allow the scripture to inspire, that is great, but I have seen much conflict because a pattern wasn’t restored or when people have disagreements.

    As you say, different ways work in different places for different people. I think we must allow the Spirit to guide us. If the Spirit moves us towards an Acts 2 style that is great. For me the danger is, as Nick points out, when people say everyone has to do it because that is the only biblically correct way, and the other problem comes when people try so hard to recreate whatever pattern that they forget it isn’t the pattern, it is Jesus.

    We can lose our way trying to stick to any pattern instead of being led by the Spirit.

    Our church for me is a great example. I tried to create this experiential deal with a lot of stuff I really liked and thought would move people and thought would bring in younger people searching.

    All I actually accomplished were problems with the people in my church.

    I had to allow God to guide who we are instead of attempting to create some experiential pattern that I thought was cool and would work.

    I hope that helps.


  1. First Century Church: is it relevant? |

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