Thursday, September 11, 2008

Restoring the New Testament Church

I recently heard a speaker make the point that the Church of Christ does not seek to be a denomination, doing its own thing, but rather seeks to restore the first century church.

My mental process responded, "Uh, yeah, right; that's not the case here," because I was thinking about how very different we are from the first-century church.

We have our own buildings - Acts 2:46; 9:2; 19:8-10; 1 Cor. 1:11; 16:19; 18:26; Col. 4:15; etc

We never kneel to pray - Luke 22:41; Acts 20:36; 21:5; Eph. 3:14; etc

We never raise our hands in prayer - 1 Kings 8:22; Neh. 8:6; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 134:2; Luke 24:50; 1 Tim. 2:8; etc

We never look up toward heaven when we pray - Ps. 123:1; John 17:1

We never lie prostrate in prayer - Neh. 8:6; Matt. 26:39

We don't meet daily - Acts 2:46

We don't live more-or-less communistically (okay, that idea seems to have faded pretty rapidly after the first couple of decades) - Acts 2:44; 4:32-37

We don't have an emphasis on using our funds to help the poor but rather on our "spiritual work" (which usually translates into paying the preacher and paying for building materials -- nothing wrong with these things; I'm just noting the emphasis) - Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 16:1-2ff; 2 Cor. 8:2-4, 13-15; 2 Cor. 9:9-12; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; Heb. 13:16; James 2:15-16; 5:1-5; 1 John 3:11,16-17; 3 John 1:5-8

We quench any idea of God's Spirit being active in Today's world; we thus not only fail to "eagerly desire spiritual gifts", but condemn such pursuit - 1 Cor. 14:1,5a,39; 1 Thess. 5:19

We have no idea of the Jewishness of our roots.

We've broken the Lord's Supper out of the Love Feast and have left the Love Feast behind (granted, because it was abused, but still...) - Mark 14:22ff; 1 Cor. 11:20ff; Jude 1:12

I'm sure there are lots of ways in which we've failed to restore New Testament Christianity, plenty of which I am still blind to, I'm sure, but what bothers me is that most of our brotherhood seems to believe we've been successful in our restoration efforts and now just need to maintain what we've accomplished rather than pushing on. What bothers me most is the criticism leveled at those who seek to implement some of these first-century ways of doing things, because they don't fit what we've already determined to be the "correct" way of doing things.

Many people now fight tooth-and-nail to defend the church they knew in the 1950s, having subconsciously equated it to the first-century church. I believe they're focusing on the wrong century.

No comments: