A few days ago I read a blog that said, “We need to get back to the ways of the First Century church.” Based on the conext, I think that what the writer was saying was that the early church was working harder, accomplishing more, and more Spirit-filled than the modern church. The blogger also mentioned the unity of the First Century Church and made it sound like early Christianity was without challenges.
I always cringe when I read or hear statements like these. First of all, it tells me that the writer really has not studied the early church. Yes, there were miracles and spectacular displays of God’s power. There is no indication, however, that they experienced any more miracles than we do.If we read Paul’s letters carefully, we see that some churches seemed to have more of the miraculous and gifts of the Holy Spirit than others. There were also other significant differences, even in the churches that Paul planted. Paul expected his churches to be on the same page doctrinally, but did not try and force them all into the same mold.
The Book of Acts also demonstrates that all churches were not the same. This is not a bad thing. God seems to delight in diversity. A survey of The New Testament and the writings of the Church Fathers shows that most of the early church was united in their basic doctrinal beliefs but had different ideas on organization and practice.
To be continued…
What do you think? Should we try and emulate the earlyChurch?