Monday, February 21, 2005

The Lord’s Supper, New Testament Style!

The meal is potluck, or as we like to say, "pot-providence." Everyone brings something to share with everyone else. When the weather is nice, all the food is placed on a long folding table out in the carport. A smaller card table at one end of the long table contains drinks, cups, forks, napkins, etc. A chest full of ice sits on the floor beside the card table. Kids run wildly around having so much fun that they must be collared by parents and forced to eat something. After a prayer of thanksgiving is offered, people line up, talking and laughing, to serve their plates. In the middle of all the food sits a single loaf of bread next to a large plastic jug containing the fruit of the vine. Each believer partakes of the bread and juice while going through the serving line. The smaller kids are encouraged to occupy one of the few places at a table to eat. (They sure can be messy!) Chairs for adults (there are not enough for everyone) are clustered in circles, mainly occupied by the womenfolk, who eat while discussing home schooling, child training, sewing, an upcoming church social, the new church we hope to start, etc. Most of the men stand to eat, balancing their plates on top of their cups, grouped into small clusters and solving the world’s problems or pondering some hot topic of theology. The atmosphere is not unlike that of a wedding banquet. It is a great time of fellowship, encouragement, edification, friendship, caring, catching-up, getting to know, praying with, exhorting, and maturing. The reason for the event? In case you did not recognize it, this is the Lord’s Supper, New Testament style!

Foreign though it may seem to the contemporary church, the first century church enjoyed the Lord’s Supper as a banquet that foreshadowed the marriage supper of the Lamb. It was not until after the close of the New Testament era that the early church fathers altered the Lord’s Supper from its pristine form into a memorial service. We advocate a return to the way of Christ and His apostles.

Source: New Testament Restoration Foundation

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yes, Interracial Marriage is Ordained by God

Believe it or not, there are quite a few professing Christians who think that interracial marriage is a sin. Exactly why is anyone's guess since no condemnation of it can be found in scripture. To the contrary, the only biblical position is that interracial marriage is ordained by God.

Source: the PaleoBlog

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Unleashing the Church

Apparently the early church shared the bread and cup as part of a weekly communal meal that included the Lord's Supper. Do we?

It seems churches were led by a plurality of co-equal elders (also called pastors and overseers) in an arrangement that was completely non-hierarchical. Do our current church structures match that?

New Testament baptism was done immediately upon conversion (with no time lapse or "membership classes"). How faithful are we to this pattern?

The New Testament teaches that all giving except that required to run the government (Matt 22:15-22; Rom 13:1-7) is to be purely voluntary (2 Cor 9:6-7). Should we, then, insist that believers tithe?

For the first three hundred years of the church's existence, it met almost exclusively in private homes as opposed to large buildings designed especially for Drawing of a First Century Church Meetingreligious services. To speak of a church "building" is deceptive since, according to the New Testament, God's "building" is not a pile of bricks but the people of God. Why, then, do many of our churches have larger budgets for buildings and grounds (that are used only once or twice a week) than for missions and people-oriented ministries? Somehow the church of the first two centuries managed not only to survive but to thrive without the benefit of a church sanctuary. Just think—no mortgages, utility bills, grounds upkeep, or property taxes! Isn’t it obvious that our traditions have distorted this clear pattern of Scripture?

Source: Unleashing the Church