IS the Early Church Really The Best Example?

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by JRG39402, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. JRG39402

    JRG39402
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    I sometimes here people say we do this because it's how the early church did it (some churches not having instruments or Sunday School for example). PLEASE don't make this a music/Sunday school debate. I just wonder, shouldn't we go by the Bible rather than the "early church". It sounds to me that looking to the early church sound too similar to the Catholics making church tradition equal to the Bible. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    JRG, would you clarify your use of "early church"? When you speak of the way the "early church" did it, do you mean the church in New Testament times and as recorded in the New Testament, or do you mean the church after the close of the New Testament and death of the apostles, etc.? Thanks.
     
  3. JRG39402

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    What I guess I am saying is should we have to limit ourselves to just what the church of the Bible did? Can't we do things as long as it isn't unbiblical?
     
  4. rbell

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    I draw a distinction between "unbiblical" and "extrabiblical."

    Unbiblical behavior contradicts Scriptural principles and have no place in the church. "Extrabiblical" stuff is stuff that is unadressed in Scripture (such as "how should we take up the offering?" or was irrelevant or non-existent during the NT era ("Is it OK for a church to have air-conditioning?")

    I tried to use silly examples & stay away from anything "hot button," but hopefully I made my point.
     
  5. JRG39402

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    Thanks rbell.
     
  6. tinytim

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    I believe we should hold to the biblical basics the way the early church did.. IOWS stay true to the message, but since we live in a different culture we have to be relevant.
     
  7. Marcia

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    I think we should follow the Bible. After all, we are NOT the early church.
     
  8. dh1948

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    Shouldn't the assumption be that if we do things the biblical way, we will be doing things the way the early church did them?
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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    Or would be doing them.
     
  10. PastorMark

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    This is the same argument that goes on among political scholars over the U.S. Constitution. Should we adhere to the "intent" of the framers, or interpret the Constitution to mean we can do whatever we want so long as it doesn't "violate" the Constitution based on current interpretation (ie. a living document)? This latter view says the meaning of the Constitution changes with time and culture, and it is also this latter view that has led the U.S. Supreme Court to decide that adult pornography is "free speech" and that child pornography is "art."

    I think we would do well to keep our Churches following a very precise path based upon what the Bible tells us that God approved the Church to do. The only place we can specifically see what God has said is acceptable in His Church is from His Word, and that would be the early Church of the 1st century.

    Pastor Mark.
     
  11. Marcia

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    Except some people think we should imitating Acts all the way, for example. Should we sell our property and share the money with all other believers? This was done in Acts but it's not commanded to all believers yet some teach we should do this (especially cults).

    Others base teachings on the HS on certain examples in Acts which I do not think apply now.

    Basically, I see dangers in trying to imitate the early church.
     
  12. PastorMark

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    Except some people think we should imitating Acts all the way, for example. Should we sell our property and share the money with all other believers? This was done in Acts but it's not commanded to all believers yet some teach we should do this (especially cults).</font>[/QUOTE]I would guess that the "some people" you refer to are looking at Joses in Acts 4:36, but he did not sell his land and give the money to the Church as an example for all to follow (just another example of "some people" not knowing the full context of the scriptural reference). We are told that he was a Levite (that's there for a reason), and we know from the Old Testament that Levites were not allowed to own land. Joses was just getting right with God, and the people of that time would have known that and respected him for his act of obedience. However, that has no bearing on whether I sell my land and give the money to the Church.

    Pastor Mark.
     
  13. Marcia

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    Pastor Mark, I was also thinking of Ananais and Sapphira in Acts 5 and this from Acts 4:
    "Christian" cults often use passages like the above to say Christians needs to be like the early church and do these things. Of course, in cults, the money gets given to the leader(s) who usually live(s) better than the followers. This is even applied to wives, as with Jim Jones and David Koresh. The men had to give their wives (and daughters) to Jones and Koresh. This is pretty typical.
     
  14. Johnv

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    Well, the early church didn't use printed material, electronic microphones, pencils, electric lighting, or any form of English for that matter. To so something just because the early church did is a bit futile, imo, not to mention an application of a false standard. We Christians are granted huge liberty to worship as we see fit, and in accordance with any custom that we see fit, so long as scripture is not violated in said worship.
     
  15. JRG39402

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    We see true Christians from all over the world worship and have church that is influenced by their culture. I just find it hard to believe that we must base our worship and church on the culture of the early church. I think as long as we aren't doing practices that are unbiblical, it is ok. Imperialism tried to get others to do things America's way and it just doesn't work.
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    JRG, thanks for the clarification. Sometimes people mean what you mean, but I've heard others speak in this way meaning the post-apostolic church fathers.

    Now to your question, "Is the Early Church really the best example?" To this I would answer a "qualified" yes. I think this question cannot really be answered with a simple yes or no, because either raises as many questions as it answers.

    When we come to this question, there are lots of misunderstandings and presuppositions -- misunderstandings that most answering yes mean "yes, everything just exactly like the early church did it" and presuppositions that a yes for how the early church taught, preached, sang, studied, fellowshipped, etc. must also include a yes for how the early church members lived (transportation, culture, language, etc.).

    Most who believe that apostolic or New Testament practice is normative (normal for the church through the ages) do not mean practice based on the culture of Romans or Jews. We mean practices concerning how the apostles and early Christians "did church" -- not how they got to church gatherings or how they kept warm/cool when they gathered!

    Jesus taught His apostles during His earthly ministry, opened their understanding as He taught them before His ascension, promised the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth, and told them to teach all things He had commanded them. These inspired apostles made disciples, baptized them and taught them. Paul went so far as to admonish the Corinthians to conduct themselves "as in all the churches", and to "follow me as I follow Christ". Has this command been abrogated? Should we still follow the norms as taught by Paul, Peter and others? Or are we at liberty to follow our own rules, methods, etc. instead?
     
  17. AresMan

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    There is nothing wrong with having church activities that are extrabiblical as long as they are not unbiblical, and as long as you don't get the idea that a church is not right with God if it doesn't implement the same extrabiblical activity.

    I have once heard of a preacher telling another preacher that his church was not a true New Testament church because it didn't have a bus ministry. Now, in today's culture there can be a lot of advantages to a bus ministry, but to mandate such while it is not laid out in Scripture is utterly Pharisaic.
     
  18. Johnv

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    Amen, AresMan, preach it!!
     
  19. rbell

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    we're striving to be a NT church.

    But getting insurance for a camel ministry is ridiculous.

    We're also having disagreements...the conservatives want one hump camels, the liberals, two.
     
  20. gb93433

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    I like to ask which NT church are they talking about in Rev. 2&3?
     

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