Which New Testament church should we restore?
one that was exclusively Jewish, and praised God in the Temple daily
wherein instruments were used (Acts 2:46-47), and lived a communistic
lifestyle (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32), and didn't have deacons, but having the
need, invented the role (Acts 6:1-6)?
The later one
that moved out of Jerusalem into the surrounding territories and met in
houses (Acts 8:3), wherein they had their prayer meetings at night (Acts
12:4,12), and in synagogues (Acts 19:8-9; 22:19; Jam 2:2), and thought
that non-Jews were unclean and were not to be socialized with, requiring
a vision and a miracle to get them to accept non-Jews (Acts 10-1, esp
11:3), and that had elders (from amongst mere days-old Christians) appointed for every assembly by a higher
authority rather than the assemblies appointing their own (Acts 14:23)?
still later, short-lived one, that accepted Gentiles, but only if the
Gentiles were circumcised and obeyed the rest of the law of Moses (Acts
The one shortly after that which called
together a multi-church conference, and issued a decree for all the
churches (Acts 16:4) to accept Gentiles without them first "converting
to Judaism", resulting in two "denominations" within the church of
Jesus Christ, one called "the Circumcision" (Gal 2:12), composed of Jews
who still kept the law of Moses zealously (Acts 21:20), and one called
"the Gentiles" (Gal 2:12), which did not keep the law of Moses (Acts
21:24-25), which though they had different worship practices (Paul even
kept Nazirite vows (Acts 18:18), necessitating animal sacrifice and
purity rituals at its conclusion (Acts 21:26; 24:18)), were united
because Jesus had torn down the middle wall of hostility dividing them
(Eph 2:14), even though some of "the Circumcision" kept trying to
re-erect that wall (for which Paul publicly scolded Peter - Gal 2:11ff)?
perhaps you mean the later Gentile-only church that started turning
against "the Circumcision", blaming all of them for what a few of their
leaders did, which after the destruction of the Temple, culminated in a
post-New Testament exclusively-Gentile church that rejected all things
Jewish, not just as un-needed in a Gentile culture, but as sinful, such
as Sabbath-keeping or musical instruments in [Temple] worship (the
synagogues, wherein the Gentiles learned "church", never had instruments
(as a rule)), re-erecting that wall which Jesus had torn down just as
"the Circumcision" (in contradiction to the Gospel - Gal 2:14) before
them had tried to re-erect?
So when we speak of
restoring the New Testament church, just which of these churches should
we restore? The oldest, most original, which was exclusively Jewish and
worshiped daily in a place where instruments were used and didn't have
deacons? Or the latest, which was turning anti-Jewish, re-erecting that
wall which Jesus had torn down and headed toward forbidding marriage and
the eating of certain foods (1 Tim 4:3), and which had stopped meeting
daily? Or something in between those two ends?
do we try to restore the practice of praying for gifts of the spirit (1
Cor 14:13) and fan the flame of that gift (2 Tim 1:6)), or do we quench
the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19) because now we "now know in full" and we have
all matured to the unity of the faith (Eph 4:13), therefore such gifts
have ceased (1 Cor 13:12)?
I judge that it's just
not all that simple to restore the New Testament church, and that if we
think we've accomplished that goal (or even can), we may not have
thought it through very well.