How can the Church return to the original model?
Can the Church ever return to the halcyon days?
(EXCITING NEWS: Have you heard our radio programme on PREMIER RADIO yet? You can hear past episodes here.)
This has been a slow unveiling of a sad reality in the Christian Church. It’s fairly clear that by-and-large the Western Church of today is at best a distant cousin to the Church of those first apostles. There has been so much baggage added to its sturdy young bones over the last 2,000 years, that now it is creaking to stay upright.
Can we ever get back to how it was in those halcyon days (if you excuse my Greek reference)? Is there a possibility of return to our first love or has too much murky water flowed under the bridge? Given that, unlike any other field of human endeavour, we have arguably ended up far worse off than when we started. Is the process of history reversible?
Although many have tried and many have failed, I believe we shouldn’t give up trying. In terms of understanding the processes of history, we are possibly better equipped to do so than any of our predecessors. We have unprecedented access to both the official and unauthorised accounts of Church history. I can say that, without a shadow of doubt, this book could not have been written without the research and communication possibilities opened up through the Internet.
This is not to say that the task is an easy one, but it could be an interesting one, certainly a challenging one.
Here’s the situation as it presents itself to us soon after the start of the 21st Century AD.
- Nearly 2,000 years ago there was born a new movement of God like none before or after. It has provided us with a template of the best that there has ever been and we are assured of its authenticity because this first Church lived out its life within the pages of Holy Scripture.
- We need to know whether this Church was a one-off unique Church or whether it is possible for us to replicate from that template.
- Has Greek thinking, introduced to this Church after the times of the first apostles become too integrated and absorbed into the Body of Christ to make our task possible?
- Some have said that God poured out unprecedented gifts and favour to that first Church in order to establish the Christian faith in the hostile Roman world of that day. They add that such gifts and favour are no longer available to the Church.
- Despite this, history is dotted with expressions of Christianity that seemed to be free of Greek influences, thrived in Biblical expressions of their faith, even experiencing the miraculous. Were they exceptions or should they be viewed as the possible norm that we should aspire to?
- Can a Church survive in the modern age without compromising Biblical principles, where all of our wisdom and deeds are informed by an unswerving faith in God?
So is there a key to unlock the door to such exciting possibilities?
Those of you who have been following these articles for some time would have detected a single theme running through the narrative, that of two mindsets, each fighting for control of our will. It is time you were formally introduced.
Next week this will happen …