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
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