Doing church the way the apostles did

Doing church the way the apostles did August 26, 2004

Terry Virgo of newfrontiers writes

We certainly need what those early Christians seemed to have. Maybe we should try and do church the way they did it! Or is that asking too much? Maybe if we took God seriously, believed Him and obeyed Him and made space for the Holy Spirit, we might see something happen. G.K. Chesterton is reported as saying, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried. Maybe this is also true of the Biblical pattern of church life so simply described in the New Testament……..

Commenting on the opening verses of Philippians, Alec Motyer, the outstanding Anglican scholar and commentator, says, “The impression we receive of the New Testament is of local churches loosely federated under apostolic authority, with each church managing its own affairs under the leadership of overseers and deacons.

He continues describing the simple life-giving structures of the New Testament churches by saying, “When we add Paul the apostle and Timothy the apostle’s delegate, we have a remarkably full summary of the constitution of the New Testament church; the body of believers, the local church officers, the over-arching apostolic work of Paul, and the occasional ministry of a person like Timothy coming into the local situation from outside (Alec Motyer, The Message of Philippians, IVP, 1984).

One cannot help thinking that this seems much simpler than having churches formed together under the authority of an archbishop who is himself appointed by a secular government, established within a framework that regards the secular nation’s head as the head of the church, while others holding authority within its ranks give scant respect to the authority of scripture or acknowledge of any kind of charismatic endowment.

As John Stott says, “The New Testament never contemplates the grotesque situation in which the church commissions and authorises people to exercise a ministry for which they both lack the divine call and the divine equipment (John R W Stott, God’s New Society, IVP, 1979)

Do we need emergent church or a restored and refomed church? I would go for the latter myself.

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