The Church No One Wanted To Join

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Brother James, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Brother James

    Brother James
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    I wonder how Rick Warren would like this piece????

    The Church No One Wanted To Join
    “But no one dared join himself to them” (Acts 5:13a).
    How strange these words sound today! And they are strange-sounding because the concept is so foreign to us.
    Whereas many of our churches will do practically anything to draw unbelievers to their services, the earliest Christians were so committed and so radical that few if any unbelievers dared join them. In New Testament times the early disciples came together not for evangelism or even for worship but for teaching, for fellowship, for the Breaking of Bread, and for times of prayer (Acts 2:42). The Lord’s Supper was not an addendum celebrated quarterly or monthly but the main reason the church assembled on the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7). Jesus was front-and-center, not a pulpit.
    “Church” did not mean a state-of-the-art building with all the latest gadgetry. It meant a company of committed believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who met regularly (at least weekly) in homes or perhaps small rented rooms where a committed family spirit could develop. To reach outsiders they took the Gospel to them – a riverside (Acts 16:13), a marketplace (Acts 17:17), a school hall (Acts 19:9). Because expenses were kept to a minimum, funds could be used to support the poor and, when necessary, their teachers (Acts 11:29; Phil. 4:16). Each believer was taught to exercise his or her own spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12) in a spirit of love (1 Cor. 13). When the Body gathered, its goal was that of strengthening itself and building itself up in love (1 Cor. 14:26).
    Because every believer was a priest and minister there was no need for an officiating “clergy.” Those who had been appointed by the Holy Spirit as pastors (Acts 20:28) became elders and teachers (Eph. 4:11), guides and leaders (1 Thess. 5:12-13). But their Senior Pastor was none other than Jesus Himself, in whose name they gathered. It was by devotion to Him and not to any human leader that they were held together. How unlike the guilds of the day!
    The early church had little of the glitz and glamour of its modern counterpart. Few of its member were from the upper crust of society. It exercised discipline on its members. It preached Jesus as Lord, not as a benevolent butler. It called for total allegiance even when that went against the ruling authorities. Its power, passion, and purity was a flaming sword that guarded the way to the tree of life (cf. Gen. 3:24).
    Today we announce “services as usual” but the situation is more desperate than that. While the modern church seeks medals, the early Christians wore scars. Being true to God did not put them at the top of the ladder but at the bottom rung. Little wonder “no one dared join himself to them.”
    June 7, 2006
    David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.
     
  2. webdog

    webdog
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    Who cares what Rick Warren thinks?

    Having said that, there are flaws in this article. To use Acts 2:42 as a proof text for weekly Lords Supper is eisegesis, along with the Bible being silent on not mentioning a building to meet in... meaning we should not have buildings with state of the art technology.
     
  3. Brother James

    Brother James
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    I think you may have missed the spirit of what he was trying to get across. Joining a group of believers back then was not taken lightly and could cost you your life. Nowadays it easier to join a church than it is a lodge for the most part.
     
  4. webdog

    webdog
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    Since Rick Warren was mentioned in the OP, I didn't get this from the article, as it's not as easy to join Saddleback as it is most churches.
     
  5. OrovilleTim

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    Is there an extensive interview process to ensure that you aren't a "resister"?

    Actually, our largest local PD congregation has tons of attenders, but I bet that only a small percentage of them are members.
     
  6. webdog

    webdog
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    The reason there are more attenders than members is because people don't want to serve in the church, which is sad.

    BTW, there is no "extensive" interview.
     
  7. OrovilleTim

    OrovilleTim
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    Actually, from my observance of attending services there for a period of time (in parallel with my member Church) I think it's because more emphasis is put on the "Celebration" experience (the walk on the beach, as C.S. Lewis puts it) and details such as doctrine (the map of the ocean in C.S. Lewis' same analogy), membership, etc. never really get "pitched".

    If a church starts "pushing" membership (or anything other than the touchy-feely experience), they could potentially scare off those "seekers".
     
  8. RandR

    RandR
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    Webdog,

    Taking the Rick Warren reference out of the OP, because frankly I don't see it as terribly relevant either, it still seems you completely missed the point of Black's article.
     
  9. Marcia

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    I think there are a lot of loaded terms in this article and it has the potential for misleading people.

    Having gadgetry or church buildings or pastors who went to seminary is not necessarily bad and is often good or needed. The article reminds me of those people who think that meeting in homes, having uneducated pastors, and staying outside the mainstream of (authentic) Christianity is somehow superior to those of us in church buildings with gadgets, and paid pastors who went to seminary.

    In an attempt to sound humble (or maybe thinking this position is humble), the article actually exudes a type of arrogance.

    There are many flaws in the article. There were prosperous people in the early church, such as Lydia (and others). Joseph of Arimethea, a wealthy man, provided the tomb for Jesus.

    The article makes a few good points, but those are drowned in the sea of straw men statements and other illogical statements or implications.

    There are problems in churches today - plenty of them - but I don't think this article addresses them well.
     

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