Recently I posted an essay here about “Living Theology” ending with some comments about my own desire to find and experience true New Testament Christianity as it was in the times of the apostles. That reveals my own bias toward ecclesiastical Restorationism. That is the belief that the “job” of the church in every age and place is to restore the New Testament church as much as possible. Most people know, and I readily acknowledge, that such an effort must take contemporary culture into account, too. It is not possible to be “the first century church at Antioch” in a very literal way in any contemporary culture. “Faithful improvisation” (Kevin Vanhoozer) is the model–picking up on the “ethos” of the first century church and faithfully improvising the contemporary church in light of that–adjusting to contemporary culture without negative cultural accommodation that violates the ethos of first century Christianity.
Please do not start a quarrel with me or anyone else about whether this is even possible. I am laying down here my assumption that it is and that it is an ideal. If you disagree, don’t comment. I know many people disagree. We all know it. So I am here inviting those who agree with me about this being an ecclesiastical ideal to offer brief portraits of contemporary Christian churches that you think come close to that ideal. You don’t have to name the church if you prefer not to, but please describe it. Focus on the church’s “ethos” and why it is reminiscent of what we read about the New Testament church–especially but not only in Acts.
By “ethos” I mean collective or corporate “spirit,” personality, disposition as well as practices that flow from that.
Please keep your portraits brief, clear and to the point. Don’t go over 250 words. Give examples that illustrate the church’s New Testament ethos.
Do NOT include any hyperlinks. If you wish, however, you can point us to the church’s web site my mentioning how it can be found (e.g., key words to use in a search engine).