Do you go to a “New Testament Church?” Probably not. (PART 4 of 4)

Posted: October 19, 2010 in Church Leadership, Theology

As we wrap up this little journey it’s important to discuss the way Paul and the other New Testament writers addressed the church.  The emphasis became focused on the church of a city.  Not individual churches, nor churches in very specific locations, but rather churches called by the name of the city where they were located.  In other words, we have city churches, not churches on a particular street or part of town.  I only mention this because we tend to make huge distinctions now in the church about everything from location, to worship style, to the diversity of our population, and so on and so forth.  New Testament writers were just addressing the issues that they heard or observed in a church of a particular city.

Additionally, Archeologists have claimed to uncover the remains of the first church buildings in 257 A.D. Dura-Europos.  You might say it took at least 200 years for the first Christians to get up the nerve or the finances to have their own place of worship…and we have come a long way.

Back to my original thesis.  The book of Acts and the New Testament isn’t a manual on how to organize a church service, nor does it provide directions on where someone should gather a particular church in their town.  Instead, the New Testament is a summary of instructions that the inspired writers felt compelled to give, the churches in various cities, on how to live as a believer.  A believer who was part of the Christian body, namely the church.

Consequently, everything we have chosen to do to create churches that meet only in buildings or only in homes come after the messages and examples of the Bible.  They are “extra-Biblical,” but it doesn’t mean they are wrong.  It means they are ideas based on practical solutions to logistical problems, or possibly opportunities seized by its leaders.  They may have even been adjustments to try and derive some growth for the Kingdom of God.  Nothing in the New Testament said we have to organize a church like they did during the first 50 years after Jesus died.

The creative God and Savior we serve, who created people in his image, can certainly inspire and develop the church beyond what it looked like, how it was organized, and what it could offer 1900 years ago!!

So, please, please, please don’t try and say the church you lead or the one you attend is “Biblical, New Testament, or 1st Century.”  They are the best your leaders (or you) could do with what they have and/or the vision they were given.  Just as it’s retarded, insane, and foolish to claim the King James Version as the only good or legitimate version of the Bible, a church that tries to emulate 1st Century Christians in the location or the way they organized their church had better do the following:

—  Have church every day in a church building and at home.

—  Sell everything and live communally.

—  Do the Lord’s Supper with incredible regularity.

Otherwise we should just go make disciples at whatever church God has called us to attend.

Amen.

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